Farmers keeping an eye on cold temperatures

November 12, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
So far no widespread ag damage has been reported because of the extremely cold temperatures but some areas did sustain some damage.

Action News visited one Fresno farmer who lost the bulk of a very popular crop.

Despite the warmth of the afternoon sun the damage was done overnight. Valley farmer Will Scott found much of his purple hull and black-eyed pea crop wilted and pretty done for the season because of the cold.

"Once the pod dries out then it tells the plant it's finished with the job," Scott said. "When the temperatures drop down close to freezing like that it has a tendency to wilt the crop."

Scott and his brothers were busy picking peas which weren't damaged by the cold. Some of the pods ready for harvest will still make it to the farmers market in west Oakland this weekend.

"See it's still green and it's still mature but then when they get to be small like this and you open them up they're not going to survive. That's it for them," Scott said.

Scott was hoping to continue harvesting this crop for the few more weeks but the dip in temperatures basically marked the end of the season.

"I was anticipating another picking out of it which would have coincided with the holidays so I would have made some money, more money but I guess I've been blessed to have three pickings," Scott said.

Scott still has many other crops to tend to.

"A lot of my customers in Los Angeles and the bAy Area like the curly leaf mustard," Scott said.

His mustard greens can handle the colder weather as long as freezing temperatures don't last a few days. Shoppers also look forward to his winter vegetables like cabbage, collard greens and turnips at the downtown farmers market.

Valley temperatures hit as low at 28 degrees in some spots but cAlifornia Citrus Mutual says the cold weather did not have much of an impact on the citrus crop.

Officials say the cold helps the fruit develop color and it also toughens the rind.


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