Dec52017

Food and Farm News

Desert vegetable harvest gets early start

The official start of winter remains a few weeks away, but the winter vegetable harvest has gotten off to a quick start. Farmers in the Imperial Valley say their lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower have been ready for harvest up to 10 days earlier than usual. Warm Southern California weather played a role. One farmer says lettuce that typically takes 85 to 90 days to grow has been ready after 75 days this fall.

Variations in citrus trees can lead to new types

It's called a "chimera"--a shoot from a citrus tree that produces fruit different from the other fruit on the tree. A University of California farm advisor says chimeras can lead to new fruit varieties, such as the multi-fingered Buddha's Hand citron. But most chimeras turn out to be of inferior quality, the advisor says, adding that both commercial and backyard growers should be aware of unusual-looking citrus that could be a sign of tree disease.

New food products show nutritional patterns

The constant churn of food products entering and leaving the market can indicate trends in people's preferences and in efforts by food makers to meet those demands. A new government study says more than 32,000 new food and beverage products debuted in the most recent year surveyed, while another 41,000 were discontinued. The new products demonstrated gradual reductions in sodium levels and other changes in nutrient content.

U.S. Census of Agriculture kicks off

To form the best possible picture of the nation's farms and ranches, the U.S. Department of Agriculture begins its next Census of Agriculture this week. Conducted every five years, the agricultural census provides information on the number and types of farms across the U.S. For example, the previous census, conducted in 2012, showed that the great majority of California farms and ranches continue to be owned by individuals, families and partnerships.

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