Freeze Damage Could Be Wide Spread

Deep Freeze May Have Caused Significant Damage to Almonds, Tree Fruit

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Editor’s note: Photo shows freeze damage to almonds ovule. On right is healthy ovule. On left, ovule died due to deep freeze. (Photo: Kern County Farm Bureau.)

While possible  freeze damage is still being calculated, we know that many areas of almonds and tree fruit have been damaged from recent hard freeze across the state, with temperatures as low as 23 degrees.

Daniel Jackson of Family Tree Farms, based in Reedley, reported that at least one block of peaches on sandy ground was lost.

“The sandy ground could not hold water to protect the roots from the freeze,” he said.

Jackson explained that the five-generation operation is waiting to see if more damage was suffered by the trees.

Significant almond damage could be widespread as the freezing temperatures struck the trees in full bloom.  If there is significant losses, it could result in higher almond prices around the world.

A report from Joel Nelsen, President 0f California Citrus Mutual, based in Exeter, noted no damage to the state’s citrus crops.

With California growers, ranchers, producers, and rural landowners experiencing recent freezing temperatures sweeping the state, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has multiple agencies that provide financial and/ or technical assistance to recover from natural disasters, such as freeze.

Listed below is an overview of applicable programs provided by the Farm Service Agency (FSA).

  • Tree Assistance Program: Provides financial assistance to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters. Forests are not eligible.
  • Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP): Provides compensation to producers who grow uninsurable crops and have purchased NAP coverage by the crop signup date.
  • For more information, visit http:// difsa.usda.gov

Please contact your local FSA County Office as soon as possible. Your local FSA specialists are available to assist you with the programs listed above and more.

 

August is National Peach Month!

Source: Amy Paturel; Self & Dale Mussen; Today’s Country

Not only are peaches a mere 38 calories (for a medium-sized fruit), they also boast measurable amounts of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and vitamins C and K, plus a plethora of disease-fighting phytochemicals. A bonus: They taste great!

But don’t limit yourself to eating whole peaches as a snack. This versatile fruit is perfect as a topping for cereal or granola, or mixed into savory foods like quesadillas (think peaches with brie … YUM!), salads and salsas.

Yellow peaches are most familiar, but there are also white-fleshed varieties, as well as “donut” peaches, named for their halo-like profiles (they look like mini-donuts!).

No matter which variety you choose, there are a number of ways to play with your peaches. We asked Tara Mataraza Desmond, author of Almost Meatless — Recipes That Are Better for Your Health And the Planet, for a few suggestions:

1.     Make a salad: Just slice fresh peaches (yellow or white) with smoked mozzarella (or Buffalo mozzarella) and arugula. The combination is sweet, savory and peppery will make you think you’re eating something sinful, when in reality, it’s deliciously healthful.

2.     Get creative with salsa: Cut peaches into one-quarter inch cubes, toss with fresh torn basil, minced jalapeno and minced red onion for a quick (and tasty) topping on grilled fish or inside fish tacos.

3.     Break out the grill: Slice peaches in half, remove the pit, then grill over medium-high heat until warmed through and marked with grill char (about 2 minutes). Serve with angel food cake or berry sorbet.

4.     Take to the oven: Roast quartered peaches with cumin and chile-dusted pork tenderloin. Serve with quinoa.

5.     Get saucy: Blend two fresh peaches with three fresh plum tomatoes, one clove of garlic, one small shallot, a splash of cider vinegar and one tablespoon of olive oil for a simple barbecue sauce or marinade.

And if that wasn’t enough, here are a few fun facts about peaches:

  • Peaches are native to China, and they’ve been cultivated for more than a thousand years. To the Chinese, peaches bring good luck, wealth and protection. Chinese brides carry peach blossoms for good luck on their wedding day.
  • The Romans brought peaches to Europe from the Middle East.
  • The Spanish brought peaches to South America.
  • The French took them to Louisiana.
  • The English introduced peaches to their colonies in Jamestown and Massachusetts.
  • Christopher Columbus actually carried peach trees during his second trip to America.
  • There are over 700 varieties of peaches.
  • China is the number one producer of peaches in the world. Italy is second, California is third. California puts out about 50 percent of this country’s peaches.
  • Peaches are high in vitamins A, B and C.
  • Peach pits contain hydrocyanic acid – it’s poisonous.
  • The world’s largest peach is in Gaffney, South Carolina. It weighs over 10,000 pounds. It’s the town’s water tower built in the shape of a peach in 1981.