Despite the drought, California farmers produced a record-breaking crop of processing tomatoes in 2014, reported Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee.
“It's remarkable, simply remarkable that tomatoes weren't negatively impacted,” said David Goldhamer, an emeritus water management specialist with the University of California Cooperative Extension.
According to the California Tomato Growers Association, the 2014 processing tomato crop amounted to 14 million tons, 16 percent larger than last year and surpassing the old record of 13.3 million tons harvested in 2009.
The growth was attributed to processing tomatoes' increasing value. Processors agreed to pay growers $83 per ton in 2014, up from $70 per ton last year. That prompted farmers to grow tomatoes rather than lower-value crops like rice, wheat and other commodities.
The article says farmers would be unlikely to be able to match the 2014 tomato crop next year if there is another year of drought.