Flowers plentiful for Valentine's Day, despite challenges
Flower farmers in the Carpinteria Valley largely dodged two disasters this winter: the Thomas Fire and subsequent mudslides. As Valentine's Day nears, the region called the "flower basket of the world" is returning to normal and ready to fill customers' vases. Roses are often the holiday's go-to flower. One farmer says his hydroponic roses have carved a niche for themselves in a market dominated by imports.
Wildfire lessons spread statewide
Lessons learned from the North Bay wildfires could help other regions prepare for and respond to disasters, according to farmers and officials who met last week in Sonoma County. One agricultural commissioner spoke of arranging escorted access to farms and ranches in evacuation zones during the October fires, and of being contacted by a Southern California counterpart for advice on how to accomplish that during the Thomas Fire in December.
New tree-mortality tool helps in fight against wildfire
Drought and bark beetle infestation killed 100 million trees in California from 2006 to 2016, increasing the risk of wildfire. The U.S. Forest Service has created a new tool that analyzes historical data to help predict the location and extent of tree mortality one to two years in the future, allowing land managers to better plan for pest suppression and wildfire prevention.
Global demand for ice cream grows
The global ice cream market is estimated to reach $78.8 billion by 2025, according to a new report. Demand for premium products, innovative flavors, lactose-free options and impulse purchases, as well as increased consumption in the Asia Pacific region, is expected to drive growth at 4.1 percent annually. California is the top dairy- and ice cream-producing state in the U.S.