Agriculture briefs: 'Freaky' pumpkins bump up sales

"Freaky" pumpkins and gourds are the new Halloween craze this year.

A seed company has developed both pumpkins and gourds that have warts all over their surfaces. It says there are more than 10 generations of breeding behind these so-called "Super Freak" plants.

California farmers have experimented with small acreages, but based on consumer reception, they plan to increase plantings next year.

Unique ale produced using local hops

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is producing one of the few estate beers in the world from the Valley.

The company grows hops in a field only a few feet from the processing plant. The hops are harvested and by the next day are in barrels of brew, which is marketed as Chico Estate Harvest Ale. The brew is so popular the company plans to expand its hops production from three acres to 10.

Fruit, veggies benefit cancer patients

Eating fruits and vegetables can aid cancer patients during chemo- therapy, according to a study conducted at the University of California, Riverside.

The researchers report that a naturally occurring chemical found in fruits such as apples and grapes and vegetables such as artichokes and celery helps improve the response of cancer cells during treatment.

The study also advocates the daily consumption of fruits and vegetables as a cancer prevention.

Almonds' health properties studied

Eating almonds helps reduce unwanted chemicals from the body.

A recent study shows the 27 volunteers who consumed 73 grams of almonds daily saw a significant reduction of the two chemicals.

The volunteers had a reduction of bad cholesterol after the test.