Valley citrus escapes widespread freeze damage

January 23, 2013 12:27:12 AM PST
The effects of this month's Valley freeze are still being felt by some local citrus growers, but it's not all bad news.

Earlier this month local growers used wind and water to save their citrus crops during the coldest time of the year. Two weeks since those freezing temperatures, agriculture officials now believe most citrus growers dodged widespread frost damage.

"Most of those damaged fruit is going to fall to the ground. You're still going to have a great pack and tasty fruit in the container," said Les Wright, Fresno County Department of Agriculture.

Wright said the freeze only damaged 3 percent of the fruit this year. Ironically, cold temperatures helped navel oranges thicken up rinds to protect them from the recent deep freeze. "Right now you can't look at a piece of fruit and see internal damage."

Wright is confident most of the Valley's citrus crop will be ready for grocery store delivery without a price spike. But that can't be said for all of our local crops.

"There's a lot of young lettuce out there that might've gotten damage. I noticed they had plastic over it and that helped I'm sure," said Wright.

With temperatures not predicted to dip into the 20's again anytime soon, Valley farmers are expecting to head into the picking season without hitting any more sour notes.


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