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» November 3, 2008 «
Now that November is here, farm advisors will start clocks running for chill hours for orchards and vineyards. Those are the hours when the temperature falls below 45 degrees. Cherries and apples require the most to set a good crop for the following season at 1,200. Almonds require only about 600 hours and the other grape and tree fruit crops require something between 600 and 1,200.
Imperial Valley farmers have enough water to grow the winter vegetable crops that supply the nation. Planting began in September and the crops are growing well. Usually broccoli harvest begins about Thanksgiving time and the lettuces in early December. Imperial Valley farms receive irrigation water from the Colorado River, where restrictions have not been as severe as in other parts of California.
Rice straw is now being used as feed by dairy farmers. Farm advisors researched how to make use of the rice straw and have developed a method to process it. Most of the dairies have used it as roughage in the diet of heifers. It is also used as a supplement for cows that aren't producing milk. With the high prices for hay, rice straw provides a less expensive feed for dairy farmers. Feed sellers expect the demand from dairy farmers for rice straw to continue to grow.
More chefs across the nation are using local food--and nowhere is consumer interest greater than in two Northern California cities. That's according to Zagat's annual survey of America's top restaurants. In a ranking of 22 U.S. cities, 43 percent of respondents in San Francisco and 40 percent in Sacramento noted that it was "very important" for their food to be locally grown or raised. Los Angeles and San Diego were a bit further down the list, at 27 percent and 26 percent, respectively. Luckily for restaurant patrons in California, farmers and ranchers in the state produce more than 400 commodities.Top