Despite the water shortage, California farms are on target to produce a record-crushing crop of processing tomatoes, which are used to make everything from ketchup to tomato soup.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday estimated the 2009 crop at more than 27 billion pounds, beating by at least 2.5 billion pounds the record set in 1999.
Water scarcity drove reductions in tomato acreage in some parts of the Central Valley, such as western Fresno County. But record high prices drove comparatively water-rich farmers elsewhere in the state to increase plantings.
Tomato acreage in San Joaquin County, for instance, rose at least 38 percent this year, to more than 44,000 acres, according to the report. Statewide, processing tomato acreage increased by roughly 31,000 acres, to at least 308,000 acres.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Parched state on track for bumper tomato crop