Agriculture

2:37pm

Thu April 24, 2014
The Salt

Should Figs Go The Way Of Apples And Become A Year-Round Fruit?

Originally published on Sat April 26, 2014 7:54 am

Over 90 percent of American figs are grown in California. Two growers there are trying to coax the fruit into ripeness nine months of the year — and maybe more.
anujd89/Flickr

True fig lovers are well-practiced in the art of patience. We watch the calendar, dreaming of summer and the fruit's silky, sappy flesh. The season lasts through June and July, with another crop from August to October. And then we're back to almost eight months of oranges, apples and, if we must, Fig Newtons.

But these figless days may be coming to an end.

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1:26am

Tue April 22, 2014
The Salt

Fields And Farm Jobs Dry Up With California's Worsening Drought

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 4:47 pm

Recent rains kept Suzanne and Mike Collins' orange grove alive, but the rainy season is ending. If they don't get federal irrigation water by this summer, their trees will start dying.
Kirk Siegler/NPR

On a recent afternoon on the main drag of Orange Cove, Calif., about a dozen farm workers gather on the sidewalk in front of a mini-mart.

One man sits on a milk crate sipping a beer. A few others scratch some lotto tickets. Salvador Perez paces back and forth with his hands stuffed in the pockets of his jeans.

If there is no water, there's no work, he says in Spanish.

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1:30am

Thu April 17, 2014
The Salt

Plant Breeders Release First 'Open Source Seeds'

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 12:49 pm

Backers of the new Open Source Seed Initiative will pass out 29 new varieties of 14 different crops, including broccoli, carrots and kale, on Thursday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

A group of scientists and food activists is launching a campaign Thursday to change the rules that govern seeds. They're releasing 29 new varieties of crops under a new "open source pledge" that's intended to safeguard the ability of farmers, gardeners and plant breeders to share those seeds freely.

It's inspired by the example of open source software, which is freely available for anyone to use but cannot legally be converted into anyone's proprietary product.

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11:13pm

Thu April 10, 2014
Water

Deciding The Annual C-BT Water Quota Is A Delicate Balancing Act

The Flatiorn Pinstocks. These pipes carry C-BT water from the Western Slope to the northern Front Range.
Nathan Heffel KUNC

With mountain snowpack well above average and area reservoirs still full from last year’s flooding, it could be a banner year for water in Colorado. But just because there’s plenty of water to go around, it doesn’t mean water users will get all they want.

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3:46pm

Mon April 7, 2014
The Salt

Can Fish Farms Thrive In The USA?

Originally published on

Live tilapia are loaded into a truck bound for New York.
Dan Charles NPR

Why hasn't fish farming taken off in the United States?

It's certainly not for lack of demand for the fish. Slowly but surely, seafood that's grown in aquaculture is taking over the seafood section at your supermarket, and the vast majority is imported. The shrimp and tilapia typically come from warm-water ponds in southeast Asia and Latin America. Farmed salmon come from big net pens in the coastal waters of Norway or Chile.

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