Workers at the Orange Cove-Sanger Citrus Association pack navel oranges as harvest begins. Growers and packer-shippers say the drought and hot summer helped concentrate sweetness, and fruit quality is good, but sizing is off. The fruit has been slow to size, particularly in production areas where irrigation water is limited or unavailable.
Photo/Lisa Lieberman
Workers sort fruit by size before packing for shipment. Because fruit is sold by weight, marketing experts say consumers may welcome smaller fruit because they will be able to purchase a larger number of pieces per pound.
Photo/Lisa Lieberman
With early navel oranges arriving at citrus packinghouses in the San Joaquin Valley, officials are reporting good quality fruit, but relatively smaller sizes, said Orange Cove-Sanger Citrus Association marking manager David Christopherson.
Photo/Lisa Lieberman
Orange growers assess drought impact on crop
This is one of those years that drives citrus farmers nuts, said Rod Radke, who grows navel oranges in Fresno County. Early harvest reports indicate good-quality oranges in terms of shape and sweetness, but the drought and lack of irrigation water are being blamed for slow and uneven fruit sizing. Read more...

Election results show influence of rural voters
Farmers, ranchers and other rural voters exerted their political influence during a midterm election that saw California voters pass a long-awaited water bond measure and dilute the majority party's power in the state Legislature, while voters across the nation created a new Republican majority in the U.S. Senate. Read more...

FDA session aims to clarify rules on food safety
Some details about the Food Safety Modernization Act became clearer, after farm groups participated in a listening session that focused on updated proposed rules for enacting the food-safety law. Read more...

Commentary: Congress needs to act immediately on tax policy
What happened in last week's midterm elections will have important consequences for federal tax reform in the next session of Congress. Read more...

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