Soil & Sea: reports from our producers

Sound Consumer January 2012

grapefruit

Organic Texas Rio Star grapefruit are excellent quality this year — they’re deep red and exceptionally juicy.

Supplies of organic bunched greens are expected to be much stronger this year, as PCC’s partners continue to increase acreage in order to meet the increasing demand.

Organic apple acreage in Washington is increasing. Washington has 14,818 acres of certified organic apples, about 9 percent of all U.S. acres in apples. Another 966 acres are in transition to become certified organic. Organic Gala apples are the leading variety in Washington, followed by Fujis.

Washington’s apple harvest ended last fall with about 3 to 5 percent of the crop still on the trees. A picker shortage and late maturing orchards left $80 million worth of apples still unpicked when snow and cold weather ended the season.

Washington’s winegrape acres are up 41.4 percent from five years ago, to 43,849 acres.

The beef supply will be tight for several more years with prices expected to rise another 5 percent. Drought and high prices may reduce the number of cows and calves by another 2 percent, while the weak dollar is increasing exports.

The Dungeness crab fishery off the West Coast is off to a slow and rocky start this season. Fishing off northern California, Oregon and Washington, which normally gets underway December 1, was delayed until mid-December, as crabs were slow to fill out following their annual molt.

The fishery runs strong for about two months, weather permitting, and typically produces more than two-thirds of the U.S. Dungeness catch. Demand from China is driving up prices despite greater volume of catch.

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Last July, when 16-year-old Nicholas Chavez collapsed in 106º F heat while picking bell peppers, it was hardly national news. The story wasn't covered by CNN, the Associated Press or Fox News. Chavez was just one more pair of hands in the endless stream of bent-backed migrants.

News bites, January 2012

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PCC Board of Trustees report, January 2012

Board meeting report, Next board meeting, 2012 board slate, and more