Beets are making a comeback in the Central Valley. This time, they'll be used for fuel rather than food.
On Thursday, the Fresno County Planning Commission approved a new project to turn beets into ethanol; the clean burning fuel that most California gasoline is blended with.
Making ethanol from beets leaves a smaller carbon footprint than completing the same process with corn. Also, UC Davis researchers believe they can harvest the crop year round.
The project facility will be built near Five Points. If the experiment goes well, a larger facility will be built near Mendota.
That site will be just east of a refinery that used to turn beets to sugar. That plant was shut down in 2008, around the same time most valley farmers gave up on the crop.