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» September 8, 2008 «
Farm and ranch income lost to drought has reached almost $260 million, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The biggest share is rangeland, where the loss is nearly $95 million. Cotton is next with nearly $62 million. Those losses include both unplanted fields and those abandoned for lack of water. Fresno County has the biggest loss at almost $74 million and Kern has nearly $70 million in lost farm and ranch income.
Pistachio harvest has started in California. Growers anticipate picking about 285 million pounds of pistachios, down from 415 million pounds last year. Pistachios are an alternate-bearing crop, which means the trees bear nuts in two-year cycles. Farmers are earning about 50 cents a pound more this year as demand for the nuts continues to increase. About 70 percent of the crop will be exported because of the weak dollar and a damaging frost in Iranian pistachio orchards.
September is California Wine Month, designated by Governor Schwarzenegger. Wineries throughout the state have special events scheduled. Interestingly, many wineries are family-friendly and encourage adults to bring children and pets. There are a variety of activities for those not old enough to taste wine. Activities range from pumpkin painting to watching an active beehive. Visitors can find a list of kid- and pet-friendly wineries at: www.wineinstitute.org.
Guacamole is a longtime favorite at tailgate parties, but viewers of the Food Network can learn delicious new ways to serve avocados. Today through October 5, the Hass Avocado Board is sponsoring vignettes with recipes for tailgating. Among them: hamburgers stuffed with avocados and Jarlsberg cheese. The program will also be supported through retail store displays. California farmers grow 96 percent of the nation's avocados.Top