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California Agriculture, Vol. 53, No.6

Small Farms: Stories of success and struggle
Cover:  UC small farm advisor Richard Molinar, left, and his assistant Michael Yang, center, give Fresno County farmer Ka Neng Vang tips about strawberry production... Photo by Jack Kelly Clark
November-December 1999
Volume 53, Number 6

Peer-reviewed research and review articles

New specialty potato varieties give farmers growing and marketing options
by Ron Voss, Herb Phillips, Kent Brittan, Harry Carlson, Nancy Garrison, Mark Gaskell, Manuel Jimenez, Don Kirby, Richard Molinar, Joe Nunez, Richard Smith, Jesus Valencia, Garth Veerkamp
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Specialty potato varieties with varying yield, size, texture and flesh colors suit different growing systems and consumer preferences.
California's small-scale farmers and direct marketers lead the nation in production of specialty potatoes, primarily yellow-fleshed types. Currently, limited varieties are available to meet the requirements for direct-marketing, organic production and perceived high consumer quality parameters such as flavor. During the 1990s, UC Davis and UC Cooperative Extension collaborated with farmers throughout California to conduct trials to identify the most desirable or profitable varieties among existing and potential new specialty potato varieties. Many European varieties are superior in yield and may be equal in quality to standard varieties. Specialty potato varieties with a diversity of yield potential, tuber size distribution, maturity and flesh-color intensity are available for conventional or alternative production and marketing systems. Consumer evaluations indicate variable preferences for color, taste, texture and other quality parameters. No general conclusions can be made about consumer preference for varieties.
Agritourism benefits agriculture in San Diego County
by Ramiro E. Lobo, George E. Goldman, Desmond A. Jolly, B. Diane Wallace, Wayne L. Schrader, Scott A. Parker
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Agritourism provides opportunities for growers to diversify their busi- nesses, and helps educate the pub- lic about agriculture.
Agricultural tourism (also known as agritourism and agrotourism) can have significant benefits for farmers and communities in the agricultural-urban interface of San Diego and other metropolitan counties. Results from a visitor study indicate that agricultural tourism has substantial economic impacts on local economies. In addition, agritourism provides opportunities for diversification and economic incentives for growers, promotes economic development and helps educate the public about the important contributions of agriculture to the county's economy and quality of life.
Farmers' markets offer new business opportunities for farmers
by Gail Feenstra, Christopher Lewis
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
At farmers' markets, growers can test value-added products, develop new market venues and connect with the agritourism industry.
This survey of farmers' market managers shows that farmers' markets offer growers opportunities to expand their businesses by developing new market venues, including community-supported agriculture, institutional food buyers and government food programs; creating value-added products; and making connections with the agritourism industry. The size and location of host communities contribute different kinds of business expansion opportunities. Markets in rural areas offer some of the strongest community support to vendors and link them with the tourist industry. Small-town markets have added the most new vendors in the last 3 years and almost two-thirds of these markets have space, indicating that there is still room for growth. Markets in metropolitan areas may be harder to get into, but they provide the highest gross sales and show the greatest increase in demand for value-added products over the last 3 years. Managers can help growers capitalize on these opportunities through the rapport and connections they develop with community businesses, associations and institutions.
Black Mission fig production improved by heavier irrigation
by David A. Goldhamer, Mario Salinas
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Fig growers in the Madera area should apply about 36 inches of water during summer for maximum Black Mission fruit production and profit.
An analysis of tree-water relations and fruit yield indicates that Black Mission fig production responds favorably to a higher volume of water applied during the summer than is currently used by most of the industry. Larger fruit size was the primary yield component responsible for the improved production and profit. Based on historical reference crop evapotranspiration rates and the crop coefficients determined using data from this study, summer-applied water should be about 36 inches for maximum Black Mission fruit production and grower profit in the Madera area.
Rearing immunodeficient calves on pasture reduces death, production costs
by Barbara Reed, Carolyn Stull, Steven L. Berry, Cynthia Batchelder
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
The risk of death was 40% less and feed costs were 48% lower for calves mob- reared on pasture than for calves reared in individual pens.
Several fungicides control powdery mildew in peppers
by Richard F. Smith, Steven T. Koike, Mike Davis, Krishna Subbarao, Frank Laemmlen
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Research has shown that several fungi- cides can control powdery mildew of peppers.
In the early 1990s, powdery mildew became a recurring problem on chili peppers and bell peppers in all production districts in California. Growers were initially unprepared to deal with the disease. Research has shown that several fungicides can control this disease. Sulfur is most effective as a preventive fungicide. In variety trials, four experimental varieties were significantly less susceptible to powdery mildew than the standard commercial variety. Genetic resistance is likely to eventually be incorporated into commercial bell pepper varieties.
Timing, frequency of sampling affect accuracy of water-quality monitoring
by Kenneth W. Tate, Randy A. Dahlgren, Michael J. Singer, Barbara Allen-Diaz, Edward R. Atwill
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Water-quality monitoring strategies for annual rangelands should include sam- pling water before, during and after storms.
Monitoring water quality is a major issue on California's rangeland watersheds, and there is limited published data to guide these efforts. We used stream-flow and water-quality data from experimental rangeland watersheds to demonstrate the temporal variability of water quality at the storm, season and annual time scales. The timing and frequency of water sampling from the storm to the annual time scale play an extremely significant role in water-quality monitoring. Our studies conducted in Northern California suggest that a minimum sampling strategy should include sampling before, during and after storms. Samples must be collected over a period of several years to account for variability among years.
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California Agriculture, Vol. 53, No.6

Small Farms: Stories of success and struggle
Cover:  UC small farm advisor Richard Molinar, left, and his assistant Michael Yang, center, give Fresno County farmer Ka Neng Vang tips about strawberry production... Photo by Jack Kelly Clark
November-December 1999
Volume 53, Number 6

Peer-reviewed research and review articles

New specialty potato varieties give farmers growing and marketing options
by Ron Voss, Herb Phillips, Kent Brittan, Harry Carlson, Nancy Garrison, Mark Gaskell, Manuel Jimenez, Don Kirby, Richard Molinar, Joe Nunez, Richard Smith, Jesus Valencia, Garth Veerkamp
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Specialty potato varieties with varying yield, size, texture and flesh colors suit different growing systems and consumer preferences.
California's small-scale farmers and direct marketers lead the nation in production of specialty potatoes, primarily yellow-fleshed types. Currently, limited varieties are available to meet the requirements for direct-marketing, organic production and perceived high consumer quality parameters such as flavor. During the 1990s, UC Davis and UC Cooperative Extension collaborated with farmers throughout California to conduct trials to identify the most desirable or profitable varieties among existing and potential new specialty potato varieties. Many European varieties are superior in yield and may be equal in quality to standard varieties. Specialty potato varieties with a diversity of yield potential, tuber size distribution, maturity and flesh-color intensity are available for conventional or alternative production and marketing systems. Consumer evaluations indicate variable preferences for color, taste, texture and other quality parameters. No general conclusions can be made about consumer preference for varieties.
Agritourism benefits agriculture in San Diego County
by Ramiro E. Lobo, George E. Goldman, Desmond A. Jolly, B. Diane Wallace, Wayne L. Schrader, Scott A. Parker
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Agritourism provides opportunities for growers to diversify their busi- nesses, and helps educate the pub- lic about agriculture.
Agricultural tourism (also known as agritourism and agrotourism) can have significant benefits for farmers and communities in the agricultural-urban interface of San Diego and other metropolitan counties. Results from a visitor study indicate that agricultural tourism has substantial economic impacts on local economies. In addition, agritourism provides opportunities for diversification and economic incentives for growers, promotes economic development and helps educate the public about the important contributions of agriculture to the county's economy and quality of life.
Farmers' markets offer new business opportunities for farmers
by Gail Feenstra, Christopher Lewis
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
At farmers' markets, growers can test value-added products, develop new market venues and connect with the agritourism industry.
This survey of farmers' market managers shows that farmers' markets offer growers opportunities to expand their businesses by developing new market venues, including community-supported agriculture, institutional food buyers and government food programs; creating value-added products; and making connections with the agritourism industry. The size and location of host communities contribute different kinds of business expansion opportunities. Markets in rural areas offer some of the strongest community support to vendors and link them with the tourist industry. Small-town markets have added the most new vendors in the last 3 years and almost two-thirds of these markets have space, indicating that there is still room for growth. Markets in metropolitan areas may be harder to get into, but they provide the highest gross sales and show the greatest increase in demand for value-added products over the last 3 years. Managers can help growers capitalize on these opportunities through the rapport and connections they develop with community businesses, associations and institutions.
Black Mission fig production improved by heavier irrigation
by David A. Goldhamer, Mario Salinas
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Fig growers in the Madera area should apply about 36 inches of water during summer for maximum Black Mission fruit production and profit.
An analysis of tree-water relations and fruit yield indicates that Black Mission fig production responds favorably to a higher volume of water applied during the summer than is currently used by most of the industry. Larger fruit size was the primary yield component responsible for the improved production and profit. Based on historical reference crop evapotranspiration rates and the crop coefficients determined using data from this study, summer-applied water should be about 36 inches for maximum Black Mission fruit production and grower profit in the Madera area.
Rearing immunodeficient calves on pasture reduces death, production costs
by Barbara Reed, Carolyn Stull, Steven L. Berry, Cynthia Batchelder
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
The risk of death was 40% less and feed costs were 48% lower for calves mob- reared on pasture than for calves reared in individual pens.
Several fungicides control powdery mildew in peppers
by Richard F. Smith, Steven T. Koike, Mike Davis, Krishna Subbarao, Frank Laemmlen
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Research has shown that several fungi- cides can control powdery mildew of peppers.
In the early 1990s, powdery mildew became a recurring problem on chili peppers and bell peppers in all production districts in California. Growers were initially unprepared to deal with the disease. Research has shown that several fungicides can control this disease. Sulfur is most effective as a preventive fungicide. In variety trials, four experimental varieties were significantly less susceptible to powdery mildew than the standard commercial variety. Genetic resistance is likely to eventually be incorporated into commercial bell pepper varieties.
Timing, frequency of sampling affect accuracy of water-quality monitoring
by Kenneth W. Tate, Randy A. Dahlgren, Michael J. Singer, Barbara Allen-Diaz, Edward R. Atwill
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Water-quality monitoring strategies for annual rangelands should include sam- pling water before, during and after storms.
Monitoring water quality is a major issue on California's rangeland watersheds, and there is limited published data to guide these efforts. We used stream-flow and water-quality data from experimental rangeland watersheds to demonstrate the temporal variability of water quality at the storm, season and annual time scales. The timing and frequency of water sampling from the storm to the annual time scale play an extremely significant role in water-quality monitoring. Our studies conducted in Northern California suggest that a minimum sampling strategy should include sampling before, during and after storms. Samples must be collected over a period of several years to account for variability among years.

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