Favorable weather may produce record walnut harvest in California

Mild summer weather has slowed the growth of many California crops, but forecasters are predicting a record year for walnuts.  According to a report by the California Farm Bureau Federation, the lack of heat throughout the golden state this season has stalled pepper and prune production and offered challenges to fruit growers whose crops need more heat to raise their sugar levels.

The San Joaquin Valley is seeing “lighter” grapes come off the vine as the early winegrape harvest winds down. This isn’t all bad news as farmers say late varieties have a chance to gain sugar faster with the onset of an Indian summer. Some coastal growers trimmed grape leaves to expose grape clusters to direct sun, but a sudden rise in temperatures led to sunburn on some of the grapes.

Cooler temperatures have led to a record pre-harvest estimate of California’s walnut crop. Forecasters from the USDA are looking at a possible 17 percent rise in walnut production. This could mean a harvest of 510-thousand tons. Favorable weather throughout the season is cited for the walnut’s successful year.

The Christmas tree industry has also benefited from the cooler-than-normal summer. Lower temperatures throughout the year have helped the trees grow says the California Christmas Tree Association. They claim the wet spring provided moisture for their crop without the need for irrigation. Though the customary summer pruning of Christmas trees has been delayed, the association says the trees will be ready, and it will be business as usual this November.