Inspectors Check Citrus for Freeze Damage

FRESNO, Calif. Inspectors must cut into the fruit to find any freeze damage and at this point, growers have reason to be relieved.

Much of the Valley's valuable citrus crop is close to maturation. Growers say the fog actually helps the process. 160 samples were taken out of six Fresno County citrus groves after the first freezing night.

Ag Standards Specialist Scotti Walker has been busy cutting those samples, looking for freeze damage. Walker said, "It kind of looks like you salted it or something and it would also show water soaking."

The oranges are cut into three segments. Of the four oranges Walker sliced, only one showed damage. "Sometimes when its froze it will show a lighter color, kind of a washed out appearance."

The discoloration though was not widespread. Deputy Ag Commissioner Thomas Nyberg says the 160-orange sample passed inspection. Nyberg said, "That sample comes out to about 6-1/2 percent. You have to have 15-percent damage to actually be a rejected lot."

Growers said they escaped major damage and now they're seeing proof of that. Nyberg added, "We're not finding damage that would indicate that we would have a problem if we went to the packing house."

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