Food & Farm News
» June 20, 2012 «
Overcoming challenges from the economy and Mother Nature, California tree fruit growers say their harvest is off to a solid start. Springtime hailstorms destroyed some peaches, plums and nectarines in the Central Valley, but farmers who have fruit to sell say their crops look good and consumer demand has been strong. Tree fruit growers say they're starting to recover from a tough 2011 and the closure of some fruit packing and shipping facilities in 2009.
Just about halfway through their harvest, strawberry farmers and marketers say they could be headed toward record production. The harvest avoided severe trouble from springtime rain, which reduced last year's final crop. California farmers have also increased strawberry acreage about 3 percent. Strawberry harvest will be concentrated along the Central California coast now as the Southern California harvest winds down.
As the summer travel season begins, people will be gathering souvenirs from far-flung locations … and pest-control officials hope those souvenirs don't include exotic pests. The US Agriculture Department says invasive pests can hitchhike in a number of food products, and can damage crops and the environment if brought back home. USDA encourages travelers to declare all agricultural items to customs officers when returning from overseas.
To boost the image of US meat and the restaurants that serve it, marketers have launched a social media campaign in Japan called "Tweet While You Eat." Japanese fans of U-S beef who share messages about enjoying a meal have the chance to win prizes. The US Meat Export Federation says more than 5-thousand Japanese consumers are already participating. Japan is the top destination for California beef exports.Top