The cool, rainy spring complicated the California blueberry harvest. Farmers say spring weather delayed harvest by up to 10 days, causing California blueberries to be short on the market at a time of high demand. But reduced crops in other states helped California farmers win markets. Blueberry production in the state has grown the past decade, and marketers say demand for the California-grown crop continues to expand.
Cherry harvest increases
Volumes of California-grown cherries on the market have shown a sharp increase this year, according to a government estimate. The report says California cherry farmers expected “the best crop in recent years” after several seasons of drought and low yields. The estimate pegged the California crop at 99,000 tons, up 65 percent from last year. Washington leads the nation in cherry production, and also expects a larger crop.
Grants benefit farm-to-school programs
Ten California-based farm-to-school programs will benefit from grants awarded this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Oakland Unified School District says it will use its grant to “dramatically increase” the amount of local food served in school meals. Other districts will start “farm to school action plans.” A Fresno-based project will hold fruit-and-vegetable taste-testing events for schoolchildren.
Report notes ‘supply gap’ in organic produce
Demand for organic produce has been expanding faster than production, leading to a “supply gap” analysts believe could continue for several years. A report from the agricultural lender CoBank says it takes three to five years for farmers to transition crops to organic status. That can lead to a lag in fulfilling new demand for organic crops. The report says food companies and retailers have increased imports of organic produce to meet demand.
A Service of the California Farm Bureau Federation
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