FRESNO, Calif. - Most of the Valley's raisin crop has been picked up and processed. The price growers will get paid 90 cents per pound. Much better than the 55-cents a pound from a year ago but raisin bargaining association chair Dwayne Cardoza says it has been an off year.
An estimated 230,000-ton crop is 20 percent lighter than a year ago.
"A lot of our guys didn't have grapes, hardly. Then we got the rain and then we got another rain so it's been a very rough year," said Cardoza.
Cardoza is an organic raisin grape grower. Now that his crop is off to the market he has been busy dicing his vineyard so he can plant cover crops in between rows which will keep weeds in check.
"We're all about soil health and the cover crop adds to that plus it's like a green manure so it adds to the food supply for the vines themselves," said Cardoza.
"Most farmers welcomed the wet winter but the September rains also ruined the drying process for many raisin growers.
Cardoza figures 10 percent of the raisin crop was lost as a result but he says the industry as a whole seemed to have less productive vines this year.
"After you come off an extreme drought like we did then we have a big rain and stuff, we didn't anticipate having a short crop," said Cardoza.
But that is what growers ended up with. Farmers will tell you though-there is always next year.