Rain Worries Valley Strawberry Farmers

FRESNO, Calif. Strawberries are just now coming into season. Ripening fruit and rain are not a good combination though local growers say they've escaped major damage.

The bright shiny color lets you know it's strawberry season. Fresno farmer Nelson Yang just completed his first harvest of the year. His field at Kings Canyon and Temperance got a good soaking so he was glad to see the sun peek through the overcast skies. Yang explained, "Rain a couple of hours like this, one day, one night no problem. But a whole week, problem."

Yang's elevated rows help keep excess water off his strawberries.

Small Farms Advisor Michael Yang said, "Its big concern for the strawberry growers in this area when you have rain like this. Most of the time the fruit gets rot."

Nelson Yang says as long as the strawberries have time to dry out they'll be fine. Most aren't ripe yet so the berries are still firm. "I'm not worried because they aren't ready yet. At my place here, not too heavy rain."

Steady rain over a few days could devastate the strawberry crop. Growers know they're not out of danger yet. Michael Yang added, "The rain could come at any time and during harvest when you have fruits ripening out there, that worries the farmers the most."

Nelson Yang says recent cold spells have delayed the Valley strawberry crop.

Last year he was able to open his stand three weeks earlier.

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