Food & Farm News
» January 25, 2012 «
While most of the state has returned to a dry weather pattern, farmers and ranchers say storms that reached much of Northern and Central California last weekend will help their crops and livestock. Ranchers in the Sacramento Valley were pleased to see new grasses appear as a result of the precipitation, but many have had to continue to supplement feed for their cattle and await more rain. Wet weather in Fresno County led to a brief halt in broccoli and spinach harvests.
Unseasonably dry weather has actually been beneficial to California flower growers as they prepare for Valentine's Day. Southern California growers say the dry weather has improved flower growth, and kept away fungi and mold that can develop during rains. Heating costs during a cold December caused challenges, but growers say they're optimistic that consumers will see a high-quality supply of Valentine's Day flowers.
Already known for its almond, walnut and pistachio crops, California has also become home to more pecan orchards. Growers have found that pecans thrive in the state's soils and can be harvested using the same tools already at work in almond and walnut orchards. So far, California pecans remain largely free of the pests that plague trees in Southern states such as Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.
Pests such as the goldspotted oak borer can destroy forests and kill trees across entire neighborhoods. The insects have been known to hop a ride on firewood, and unsuspecting people can move them into new areas when collecting wood for campfires or fireplaces. To halt the transportation of tree-killing pests, the California Firewood Task Force created public service announcements that encourage families to “buy it where you burn it,” meaning to purchase firewood locally.Top