Local citrus grower sues Fresno County

4/11/2008 Fresno, CA Quinn claimed he harvested 20 acres of navel oranges from a Madera orchard three days before the freeze. He then packed and stored the fruit in refrigerated trucks.

Quinn said, "We contacted our packer who alerted us that we had to call the Fresno County Ag Department. And when we called them they said no way. They rejected any options."

By then the freeze had hit and all Valley oranges had been red-tagged - held until inspectors could check the fruit for freeze damage.

California Citrus Mutual President Joel Nelsen said, "Sometimes that may have taken a day but it was guaranteed to take no longer than six days and that wouldn't have harmed the fruit. That was the agreement that was reached and it was a voluntary program to maintain the integrity of the fruit entering the marketplace."

But Quinn said he was no longer able to sell his fruit at a decent price after the hold was lifted for his oranges. "By then the market was deflated. People had lost interest in the fruit. There had been enough bad publicity around the country."

Fresno County Ag Commissioner Jerry Prieto said he can't comment on the situation.

Quinn says he just wants to be paid for what his oranges would have been worth. "That's at least 75-100-thousand dollars."

Jim Quinn has yet to find an attorney to take this case. He said he has less than sixty days to do so. Otherwise, his suit will be thrown out.

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