Weather brings yield gains Grower prices for many fruit crops averaged lower than a year ago this summer due to increased production. Included are grapes, strawberries, oranges, grapefruit, and lemons, notes the USDA.

Improved weather conditions, specifically in California, Washington, and Florida, contributed to the expected larger crops in 2000. The grower price index for fruit and nuts in July and August 2000 averaged 8 percent below the July-August 1999 index. Prices are likely to remain below a year ago through most of the second half of the year, as the anticipated slightly larger apple crop this fall could lead to lower prices. Meanwhile, grower prices for pears and tree nuts are expected higher in 2000/01 due to reduced production.

Lower retail prices for Valencia oranges, grapefruit, lemons, strawberries, and Thompson seedless grapes weakened retail prices for fresh fruit in July 2000 compared with a year ago. During the fall, retail prices are expected to continue to be weakened by slightly larger apple supplies.

Grape production U.S. grape production for 2000 is forecast at 14.7 billion pounds, up 18 percent from a year ago and surpassing the previous record of 14.6 billion pounds in 1997. California's production is expected to set a record, up 21 percent from 1999. Larger crops are also anticipated in other major producing states, except New York and Pennsylvania.

Record production this year points to lower grape prices. Increased competition from ample supplies of stone fruit and citrus fruit has put additional downward pressure on fresh grape prices during the summer. A combination of increased production, lower prices, and the good quality of this year's crop will help promote domestic consumption and U.S. exports of fresh grapes.

Domestic consumption of fresh grapes is forecast to increase about 7 percent from 1999's estimate of 8.2 pounds per person.

U.S. pear production for 2000 is forecast down 2 percent from 1999 due to reduced production of Bartlett pears, mostly used for processing. The overall decline in pear production this year is expected to lead to higher grower prices in 2000/01.

Lower supplies and higher prices will likely lead to a decline in domestic consumption of fresh pears from the 3.5 pounds per person in 1999. U.S. fresh pear exports also will likely be limited by these same factors.

Overall stone fruit production (peaches, nectarines, plums, prunes, apricots, and cherries) in 2000 is expected to be up from a year ago due mainly to a larger U.S. peach crop.

Peaches make up about 70 percent of U.S. stone fruit production, and this year's increased harvest is enough to offset expected output declines for cherries and combined output of prunes and plums in Idaho, Michigan, Oregon, and Washington.

California plums Larger supplies of California plums and apricots also are expected to lead to lower prices and increased domestic consumption in 2000.

Commercial strawberry production in the six major producing states is forecast up 7 percent from a year ago. Oregon and Michigan are the only states where production is expected to decline. The larger domestic crop and anticipated reduced exports from Mexico will lead to lower imports of fresh strawberries in 2000. Increased supplies, good quality, and lower prices are likely to boost this year's U.S. fresh strawberry consumption from 1999's 4.52 pounds per person.

Demand for U.S. fresh strawberries is expected to continue strong in major markets such as Canada, Japan, and Mexico, as economic conditions there have improved.

Total production of tree nuts will likely decline this season from the record set at 2.6 billion pounds in 1999/2000. The California Agricultural Statistics Service forecasts lower production of almonds and walnuts. Smaller crops of hazelnuts and pecans are likely. Pistachio production, meanwhile, is forecast at a record high. With reduced overall supplies, grower prices are likely to average higher than a year earlier, but domestic use and exports are expected to be limited.

The Almond Board of California announces the promotion of Stacey Kollmeyer to manager of communications. She will oversee public relations programs directed toward consumer, media and influencer audiences, as well as industry communications.

Kollmeyer joined the Almond Board in 1997 and most recently has been assistant manager of public relations.

A new community orchard has been planted at Cal Poly. Created by the university's College of Agriculture and the Central Coast chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers, the orchard will also be used by Cal Poly agriculture students.

Summer! The time to enjoy the sweet, rich taste of those ripe Bing cherries. Delicious just as nature made them or toss pitted into a fruit or green salad for color and flavor. These jewel-toned, bite-sized snacks are grown right here in California-one of the top three cherry-producing states.

The pistachio is a relative of both the mango and the cashew. California grows all of the nation's commercial pistachios on 60,000 acres.

The Farm Bureau points out that California farmers and ranchers produce an average of $67 million in food, fiber and flower products every day of the year.

Milk is California's top ranked commodity, having a value of $2.9 billion in 1994. Grapes follow in second, with cattle and calves rounding out the top three spots.

The famous "Golden Apples" of Greek mythology were actually apricots. Commercial growing of apricots in California started in 1872 in California's fertile Santa Clara Valley.

How much did a Bartlett pear cost in the mid-1800s? $20.67. they were so delicious, people paid the same price for Bartletts as they did for an ounce of gold!

California leads both the nation and the world in apricot production with a 10-year average of about 180,000 tons. Of that only 6 percent is consumed fresh.

More than two-thirds of the U.S. production of Bartlett pears is harvested in California. The peak season for Bartletts is from mid-July to November.

In orchards where water infiltration is limited, gypsum applications can be helpful. Gypsum is especially effective in increasing water penetration.

Good management practices and common sense will help prevent the spread of weeds. Prevention now can reduce the need for additional control measures in the future.

On average, only one in 20,000 chemicals makes it from the chemist's laboratory to the farmers field, says the Alliance for Food and Fiber.

The top five walnut producing counties in California for 1995 according to production share were San Joaquin, Tulare, Stanislaus, Butte and Sutter.

The U.S. walnut industry is made up of over 5,000 growers and 52 walnut processors (marketers).

Dating back to 7000 B.C. the walnut tree is the oldest known fruit tree. Fifty percent of the world's supply of walnuts comes from California.

The California Farm Bureau heard through the grapevine that 75 percent of all California raisins are eaten at breakfast.

Figs were not only eaten by the first Greek Olympians for their great tasted and healthful qualities, they were also worn as medals for their Olympic achievements.

Almonds are really a fruit. They originated in China and are related to such fruits as peaches, plums and cherries.

The No. 1 olive producing county in California is Tulare.

The "Gala" apple was first found in 1939 in New Zealand. It is a cross between a Golden Delicious apple and a Kid's Orange Pippin.

The pistachio is a relative of both the mango and the cashew. California grows all of the nation's commercial pistachios on 60,000 acres.

Grapefruit is very high in vitamin C and is a source of potassium, folacin and Vitamin A. Dieters are especially fond of grapefruit because it is sodium and fat-free.

During the Super Bowl, enough avocados were consumed to cover a football field 18 inches deep in guacamole!

The Farm Bureau points out that California farmers and ranchers produce an average of $67 million in food, fiber and flower products every day of the year.

California produced 151 million pounds of pistachios last year; Iran leads the world in production of pistachios.

Milk is California's top ranked commodity, having a value of $2.9 billion in 1994. Grapes follow in second, with cattle and calves rounding out the top three spots.

California avocados contain more vitamin A than many other popular fruits, including apples, bananas and grapefruit.

The famous "Golden Apples" of Greek mythology were actually apricots. Commercial growing of apricots in California started in 1872 in California's fertile Santa Clara Valley.

How much did a Bartlett pear cost in the mid-1800s? $20.67. they were so delicious, people paid the same price for Bartletts as they did for an ounce of gold!

California leads both the nation and the world in apricot production with a 10-year average of about 180,000 tons. Of that only 6 percent is consumed fresh.

More than two-thirds of the U.S. production of Bartlett pears is harvested in California. The peak season for Bartletts is from mid-July to November.

A 50-acre apple orchard with 44 trees per acre can lose about $27,000 a year to deer.

The key for long-term success of drying raisins "on-the-vine," will be new varieties, according to UC Davis viticulture specialist Pete Christensen

The almond industry experienced a record crop in 1997 of 756 million pounds. In 1998, production dropped to 509 million pounds of receipts, according to the Almond Board of California.

While other citrus crops sang the "citrus-freeze blues," the blood orange from Southern California endured and is wooing citrus lovers with its memorable flavor and dramatically sanguine juice. Its unexpected brilliance adds a vivid touch as a garnish or in a salad.

The most well-nourished families are those that prepare foods from scratch, buy more fruits and vegetables and use a variety of cooking methods.

Want the comforting effect of a glass of good wine without the alcohol? Eat some grapes. Their abundant glucose content stimulates production of serotonin in the brain - a natural relaxant. In addition, reports Farm Bureau, those sweet, juicy grapes are packed full of potassium and iron.

Pick California cherries, the first stone fruit of the season, for a succulent snack that's high in potassium but low in calories. California is one of the top three cherry producing states, shipping over 750,000 18-pound boxes a week in June.

Prunes top the list of antioxidant fruits, followed by raisins and blueberries. Heading the list of antioxidant vegetables is kale, followed by spinach and Brussels sprouts.

"Pink Lady" is not the name of a fruity drink garnished with a parasol. It's a cross between Golden Delicious and Lady Williams apples. This Australian native is causing a sensation in California, Farm Bureau says, where it's sweet-tart, flavor, hot pink color and growing popularity are projected to reach an estimated production of one million boxes by the year 2002.

Sixty percent of California's raisins are sold as an ingredient to food processors, according to the California Raisin Marketing Board.

Marketing research studies show consumers praise low-cost raisins as a source of nutrients, as a convenient and nutritious snack, and as a useful cooking ingredient.

The glassy-winged sharpshooter rides again! No, it's not a cute, little gun-totin' winged fairy. It's an insect that poses a serious threat to California viticulture. Why? Because it spreads Xylella fastidiosa - the bacterium that causes Pierce's disease - for which there is no effective treatment.

Rural crime has changed. It's no longer just a neighbor's kid swiping Tipe cherries from your tree on a warm spring day - it's serious business. Commercial orchards are particularly vulnerable to thefts of walnut burls that sell for thousands of dollars and are used in luxury vehicles.

California continues to lead the U.S. in production of apricots, avocados, grapes, lemons, plums, prunes and strawberries.

Eating a handful of walnuts everyday will lower your blood cholesterol. A study at Loma Linda University found that people who ate any kind of nuts at least five times a week had half the risk of heart attacks as those who ate nuts less than once a week. California leads the nation in production of walnuts, which ranks 10th in agricultural export commodities. What, countries import them? Japan, Spain, Italy, Germany, Canada, Netherlands and Israel.

Differences in color are not the only thing that distinguishes white-fleshed peaches and nectarines from traditional varieties. Yellow varieties continue to ripen after harvest, while white varieties taste sweet even while they are quite firm to the touch.

Ben Franklin predicted that in the future food would be our medicine. He was right! Farm Bureau reports that researchers found certain compounds in cherries which can help prevent heart disease, block inflammatory enzymes and are more effective than aspirin for reducing pain. So, if you hurt...eat 20 cherries and call me in the morning.

What do wine and angel food cake have in common? Cream of tartar. Farm Bureau sources report that this major ingredient in baking powder is a natural, pure substance left behind after grape juice has ferments to wine, and keeps egg whites from foaming.

Winery shipments increased for the sixth consecutive year, reaching a record high of 446 million gallons in 1999.