Bump in raisin crop expected this year in Central Valley

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) Federal agriculture officials say raisin production in California's Central Valley is on track for a big increase this year due to favorable weather conditions.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting that the region will produce 2.4 million tons of raisin-type grape varieties in 2013, up nearly 26 percent from 2012. It will be the largest harvest since 2008.

The Central Valley's raisin industry has seen a steady production decline in recent years, as farmers yanked their vineyards in favor of almond trees and other crops.

The number of acres of raisins planted dropped from 280,000 in 2000 to 209,000 in 2011. About 200,000 acres are expected this year, but more grapes are forecast to grow on each vine, bumping up production.