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Forecasts predict great gains in fruit production

The latest federal figures show that summer 2007 is truly a fruitful time in California. The Na-tional Agricultural Statistics Service projected increased harvests in the state of several crops that are grown mainly in the San Joaquin Valley. The estimates reflect near-ideal weather compared with the spring rain and other problems last year. The highlights:

Cling peaches, 450,000 tons this summer, up 25 percent from last year. Most go to canneries, including two Modesto facilities.

Freestone peaches, 390,000 tons, up 10 percent. They grow mainly in the south valley and go to the fresh market.

Apricots: 90,000 tons, up 131percent. The West Side of Stanislaus County is the state's top producer of this fruit, which had an especially bad season in 2006.

Cherries: 92,000 tons, up 119percent. San Joaquin County is the leader in California by far.

Bartlett pears: 210,000 tons, up 6 percent. Fresno and Sacramento counties top the acreage.

The report estimated that dried plums, better known as prunes, will come in at 95,000tons, down 47 percent mainly because of overly warm weather during the bloom.

A July 18 event in Livingston will offer help with energy conservation and renewable sources on farms and ranches. It will run from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Pioneer Hall at Livingston United Methodist Church, 11695 W. Olive Ave. The agenda includes solar power, fuel derived from farm waste, and low-impact tilling for field crops. Tours of the nearby Okuye almond farm and Atwater cheesemaker Joseph Gallo Farms will be part of the day. The cost is $40, including lunch. Participants should register by July 9 by calling the sponsoring Ecological Farming Association, 831-763-2111, ext. 4. More information is at www.eco-farm.org.

To submit items about agribusiness, call 578-2385, send a fax to 578-2207, or send an e-mail to jholland@modbee.com.

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