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» July 18, 2008 «
Tomato farmers and shippers welcome word that the federal government has lifted its salmonella warning. Even though California-grown tomatoes were among those declared free of concern during the outbreak, farmers here saw demand plummet. A number of farmers ultimately plowed up fields of tomatoes that they could not sell. California ranks number two in the nation, behind Florida, in production of fresh-market tomatoes.
Even as farmers struggle through water shortages to try to bring this year's crops to harvest, they have started to look forward to next year. By autumn, farmers will begin making decisions about what to plant the following spring, so they can order seed and other supplies. With reservoirs low on water and environmental restrictions further cutting water deliveries, Central Valley farmers face difficult decisions. One grower says he and fellow farmers will be "shooting in the dark."
After a slow start, the valencia orange harvest has picked up. Demand for the summer orange variety has increased on the domestic market, now that the California navel orange harvest has ended. A government report says most valencias harvested earlier in the season were sold to export markets. The report forecasts California farms will produce 32 million cartons of valencia oranges this season, up 39 percent from a year ago.
If you need an excuse to eat ice cream, here's a good one. Sunday is National Ice Cream Day. Californians have further reason to celebrate, because our state leads the nation in ice cream production. California dairy processors produced 130-million gallons of ice cream last year. Good thing, too, as the average American family consumes 25 pints of ice cream a year. Vanilla remains the most popular flavor, according to the International Dairy Foods Association.Top