Food and Farm News — Americans consumption of fresh strawberries set record

Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Delayed water forecast dampens planting increases
There’s a sense of “what might have been” in part of the San Joaquin Valley, where farmland will remain idle because of a 65 percent water allocation that was delayed several weeks. Farmers who buy water delivered by the federal Central Valley Project say they’re planting more land than in previous years, when the project provided little or no water. But farmers say they might have planted more crops if they had known their water situation at the usual mid-February date. 
Tomato farmers face tight schedule due to wet fields
As the calendar turns to April, many tomato farmers find themselves behind schedule. Wet fields in some parts of the Central Valley have prevented farmers from planting tomato transplants as early as they’d prefer. That could affect the timing of harvest later this summer, when the tomatoes will be ready to be processed into salsa, ketchup and other products. Additional rain forecast for this week could further disrupt tomato planting schedules. 
Fresh strawberry consumption sets record
If you’ve been eating more fresh strawberries, you’re in good company: Americans consumed fresh strawberries in record amounts last year, according to new estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. On average, each American ate just more than 8 pounds’ worth of fresh strawberries, plus another 2 pounds of frozen berries. More than 90 percent of U.S.-grown strawberries come from California farms, and the USDA says it expects acreage to stay steady this year. 
Analysts check health benefits of microgreens
Looking closely at microgreens, food technologists have found they’re as nutritious as they are popular. Microgreens–the young seedlings of vegetables and herbs–have caught on with chefs and home cooks. They also provide important vitamins and minerals. Analysts with the U.S. Department of Agriculture checked 30 types of microgreens, and found them to contain high levels of potassium, phosphorus, calcium and other minerals important for human health.