California almond production approaching 2 billion pounds
"It's remarkable," said Daniel Sumner, director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center.
"There are two things going on," he said. "We have improved the nature of the orchards, both in the way that we plant them and the varieties and the like. And there's a lot more acres."
In the last decade, low cotton prices prompted many farmers in the southern San Joaquin Valley to plant almonds on former cotton acreage, the article said. A growing world demand for nuts, especially from China's emerging middle class, is helping sustain strong commodity prices and driving production gains.
Winter is the ideal time to buy, plant bare root fruit trees
Debbie Arrington, The Sacramento Bee
Now is the time to plant bare-root fruit trees. UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Chuck Ingels said some are easier to grow than others and each fruit comes with its own challenges.
"For beginners, cherries are out; don't even think about it – just too hard," Ingels said. "Peaches and nectarines are really good, except for the leaf curl issue (caused by a fungus). Apples and pears are great except for blight and codling moths. People tend to live with those problems or cut down the tree.
"More and more, I think plums and pluots (a plum-apricot hybrid) are the best choices for backyard orchards," Ingels said. "They're the easiest to grow with wonderful fruit. Pluots especially are the way to go."