9-2 AM Live Ag Report

FRESNO, Calif.

Demand remains strong for sweet potatoes, and California farmers say they're harvesting as fast as they can. More people are eating sweet potatoes, in part because of the growing popularity of sweet potato french fries.

Sweet potatoes kept in storage have been sold because of the high demand, so consumers will see new-crop potatoes in stores. The California harvest has now reached full stride after a delayed start.

California citrus growers are watching out for a new plant disease.

"Sweet orange scab" has never been found in the U.S., but is now affecting trees in Texas and Louisiana. The disease causes cosmetic damage to fruit.

Meanwhile, California reports positive news in preventing another citrus disease. Authorities say they're trapping fewer Asian citrus psyllids. The insects can carry a disease that's hurt Florida orange trees but has not been found in California.

A Fresno fruit company has found a way to commercialize fresh cut peaches and nectarines.

Historically, stone fruits are not considered appropriate for a fresh cut product. They oxidize and lose flavor.

Californiafarmer.com reports that Fruit Dynamics has spent five years developing the process to cut and bag fresh peaches and nectarines. In many cases, the cut fruit has a shelf life exceeding 15 days.

September is California Wine Month. Governor Schwarzenegger made the proclamation for the sixth year in a row.

California is now home to more than 4,600 grape growers and 3,000 bonded wineries. It's responsible for approximately 90-percent of wine production in the U.S.

For the month of September, Governor Schwarzenegger encourages people taking a wine tour or enrolling in a wine class and become more familiar with this part of California culture.

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