Food and Farm News for week of Jan. 4—Precipitation up, snowpack down

Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Precipitation up, snowpack down
Jan. 3 readings by the Department of Water Resources measured the water equivalent in the statewide snowpack at 70 percent of historic average. Total precipitation since Oct. 1 has been above average, but warmer temperatures caused more rain and less snow. Total water storage in state reservoirs is estimated at 98 percent of historic average. Acting Director Bill Croyle is “cautiously optimistic” about the state’s water conditions, though it’s still too early to determine the impact on the drought.
Board holds final hearing on river-flow plan
People again expressed concern Tuesday about a state board proposal to redirect more water to fish in three San Joaquin Valley rivers. The State Water Resources Control Board held a final public hearing in Sacramento on its plan for the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers. Irrigation-district and community leaders urged the board to look at alternative remedies for fish that would minimize the impact on people who depend on the rivers.
Marketers assess benefits of holiday demand
With the baking, feasting and toasting of the year-end holidays now concluded, people who sell holiday-related farm products say they saw demand swell for the season. Marketers say the holidays typically boost sales of products such as eggs, butter, nuts, raisins, whole-body turkeys and sparkling wine. Some of those same products and others will also see demand rise in anticipation of lunar New Year celebrations at the end of the month.
Mushrooms gain popularity
Propelled by increased demand from home cooks and food-service operators, many California mushroom farmers have increased production of the versatile fungus. Farmers say customers are interested in the crop’s health benefits, particularly its vitamin D content. Another popular attribute is its “blendability,” in which mushrooms are mixed with ground meat to create burgers and meatballs.