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Fruit farming

Robotic fruit pickers may help orchards with worker shortage

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Harvesting Washington state’s vast fruit orchards each year requires thousands of farmworkers, and many of them work illegally in the United States. That system eventually could change dramatically as at least two companies are rushing to get robotic fruit-picking machines to market. The robotic pickers don’t …

Worldwide strengthening El Nino giveth and taketh away

WASHINGTON (AP) — In California, they’re counting on it to end an historic drought; in Peru, they’ve already declared a pre-emptive emergency to prepare for devastating flooding. It’s both an economic stimulus and a recession-maker. And it’s likely to increase the price of coffee, chocolate and sugar. It’s El Nino …

Aronia berry gaining market foothold in US

MISSOURI VALLEY, Iowa (AP) — A new fruit that research says packs more antioxidants than popular “superfoods” like blueberries, acai berries and goji berries is establishing itself in the aisles of mainstream grocery stores, showing up in everything from juices to powdered supplements to baby food. Its rise from being …

Saving dying lake is priority for Iranian leader

OROUMIEH, Iran (AP) — The first cabinet decision made under Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, wasn’t about how to resolve his country’s nuclear dispute with world powers. It was about how to keep the nation’s largest lake from disappearing. Lake Oroumieh, one of the biggest saltwater lakes on Earth, has …

4 elephants call former citrus farm home

FELLSMERE, Fla. (AP) — Forget peanuts. In the heart of Florida’s citrus grove region, it’s the oranges elephants are after. At the newly opened National Elephant Center in Fellsmere, Fla., the pachyderms have discovered how to pluck the fruit from the trees with their trunks and pop it into their …