The Northern San Joaquin Valley economy, which has been struggling with soaring unemployment and a battered housing market, got a boost Thursday from a sector that continues to produce strong results — agriculture.
The orchards in the valley and around the state could yield about 1.53 billion pounds of almonds, according to a key early projection. Those nuts end up in snack bags, baked goods, breakfast cereals and many other products bought and sold around the world.
The National Agriculture Statistics Service's initial harvest projection released Thursday is up 8.5 percent from last year's production of 1.41 billion pounds. If the crop is as large as expected, it would be the second-largest almond harvest in the state since 1999.
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