(Feb. 27) Exports of fresh California grapes increased in 2008.

More than 22 million 19-pound boxes of grapes valued at $348 million left California for international markets, not including Canada, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture figures cited in a news release from the California Table Grape Commission, Fresno.

The total fresh grape crop grown by California farmers was 90.1 million 19-pound boxes.

In the past 10 years, exports of fresh California grapes increased 59%, while the value of those exports increased 123%, the release said.