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UC Agriculture & Natural Resources News

I'm Just a Little Ol' Honey Bee Foraging on Lavender

Peek-a-bee! Hi, it's just me, a honey bee foraging on lavender in mid-December in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

I'm just a little ol' honey bee foraging on lavender. I left my warm colony in Vacaville, Calif. to see if there's any nectar out there. My sisters are hungry. I'm not sure if we have enough honey to tide us over until spring. Look, here's some late-blooming lavender amid all those frost-bitten...

Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 4:42 PM
Tags: colony (2), foraging (1), honey bee (195), lavender (26)

What does family mean?

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

We were sampling plots in the Delta in July 2016, and found a small clump of this plant – pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata). Generally considered a desirable native wetland plant, it happens to fall in the same botanical family as the baddest of the bad in the Delta – waterhyacinth...

Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 3:39 PM
Tags: aquatic (29), Aquatic Plants (19), aquatic weeds (36)

A 'Firecracker of a Surprise' in Davis: Who Knew?

These are the caterpillars (larvae) of the Buckeye butterfly, Junonia coenia, that Ria de Grassi noticed on her firecracker plant. (Photo by Ria de Grassi)

When plant and insect enthusiast Ria de Grassi discovered caterpillars on her firecracker plant, Russelia equisetiformis, last July 10 in her yard in Davis, Calif., she asked noted butterfly authority Art Shapiro, UC Davis distinguished professor of evolution and ecology, to identify them. He not...

Want to Learn How to Care for Bees? UC Davis Offering Courses

Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño conducts a beekeeping course. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Want to bee-come a beekeeper and learn the ABC's of taking care of colonies? Think "A" for apiary; "B" for bees; and "C" for colonies. Here's how to join the ranks of California's estimated 11,000 backyard and small-scale beekeepers. Or, if you're already a beekeeper, here's how to improve your...

California’s nascent coffee industry to hold summit Jan. 18

Jay Ruskey, left, and Mark Gaskell, shown at a coffee tasting in 2015. They planted their first California coffee field trial in 2002.
Coffee is being commercially grown in California and coffee drinkers can't get enough of the locally produced beverage, which currently retails for about $18 per cup. Anyone who is interested in growing, processing or marketing specialty coffee in California is invited to a Coffee Summit on Jan. 18 at Cal Poly Pomona.

Until recently, American coffee was grown commercially only in Hawaii. To make the most of their precious water, California farmers have begun experimenting with coffee plantings and producing beans that fetch a premium.

“There are about 30,000 coffee trees now planted on about 30 farms and that acreage will continue to grow during 2018 with programmed new plantings,” said Mark Gaskell, UC Cooperative Extension advisor who works with coffee growers in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. “Only a relatively small amount of the planted acreage is now producing, but the market interest and demand continue to outpace anticipated new production for the foreseeable future.” 

At the Coffee Summit, participants will learn about new opportunities for this high-value crop from industry professionals. Summit topics will include development of estate coffee, coffee production, pests and diseases, processing methods and marketing.

Coffee is planted from Morro Bay to San Diego, with production concentrated in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Diego counties, according to Gaskell.

Coffee interplanted with established avocado orchards requires no additional land, water or fertilizer.

California coffee industry leaders from Santa Barbara and San Diego counties and agriculture professionals with University of California Cooperative Extension, University of Hawaii and U.S. Department of Agriculture will give presentations and answer questions.

Good Land Organics grower Jay Ruskey, who has been growing coffee in Santa Barbara County since 2002, and Gaskell will discuss growing coffee in California.

Based on their coffee variety research trials, UC Cooperative Extension advisors Ramiro Lobo and Gary Bender, both based in San Diego County, and Duncan McKee of Cal Poly Pomona will discuss which varieties are suitable for production in California.

“We are working collaboratively with UC Cooperative Extension to determine the best coffee varieties for our area,” said Valerie J. Mellano, Cal Poly Pomona professor and chair of the Plant Science Department. “Much of the California coffee is grown along the more coastal areas, but we are really interested in determining what will do well in the more inland areas, where it is a little hotter in the summer and a little colder in the winter.

“We are starting the second year of our trial and will be able to see how certain varieties hold up in the colder weather this winter, but we will not have any coffee yield data for a couple more years.”

Andy Mullins of Frinj Coffee, a cooperative of 24 farms including Good Land Organics, will discuss business and marketing opportunities for new California coffee growers.

The Inaugural Coffee Summit will be hosted by the Huntley College of Agriculture on Jan. 18, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the AgriScapes Conference Center at Cal Poly Pomona. Registration is $75 and includes a continental breakfast, lunch and coffee tasting. For more information and registration, visit http://bit.ly/2jtXyFP.

 

Related reading:

California Coffee http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/uc2/2015/03/california_coffee.html

Your coffee is from where? California https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/26/business/your-coffee-is-from-where-california.html?_r=0

Farmer breaks ground with California-grown coffee success https://www.cbsnews.com/videos/18-cup-of-california-grown-coffee-sparks-industry-interest/

Posted on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 3:28 PM
Tags: Coffee (7), Mark Gaskell (15)

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