Valley Growers Dodged a Frozen Bullet

FRESNO, Calif. The sun's warmth was welcome in local citrus groves. Many growers say they didn't need to use their wind machines to warm their orchards overnight. Dallas Kanagawa grows 80-acres of citrus near Centerville. He harvested clementines on Sunday before the rain and then the freezing temperatures hit.

Kanagawa said, "Most of the growers in our area ... there was no damage so we feel very fortunate that everyone in our area escaped the cold weather."

Kanagawa has only harvested 5% of his crop but he was less worried about his clementines sold at Sanger Nursery than he was about his lemons, which are more susceptible to freeze damage.

"What helps the fruit is the sugar because it raises that freezing point inside the fruit," said Kanagawa.

Fresno County Deputy Ag Commissioner Tye Hafner says some citrus may have sustained damage that won't be apparent for another week.

"We have collected oranges from sample fields. We'll let some days go by and we'll cut those to see if they have any evidence of freezing or drying," said Hafner.

Southeast Asian farmers covered their valuable sugar cane crop but worry the freeze may have damaged the sweet treat popular during Hmong New Year celebrations.

Small Farm Advisor Michael Yang said, "It turns fermented. If you eat it, it's not going to taste like a cane. It tastes like wine or apple cider."

Like the oranges though, it will take about a week before you can tell if the sugar cane sustained freeze damage.

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