Valley farmers welcome expected warm-up

FRESNO, Calif.

For that reason, many farmers welcome the warm up Angelo is forecasting.

Fresh figs are being packed and prepared to be shipped out of Madera to stores all around the country. Valley farmers say a cool spring has put many harvests a week to ten days behind schedule.

While the rest of us enjoyed several cool days this summer, growers like Paul Mesple began to worry about their crops. Mesple explained, "It can also be too cool for us and if it gets really cool we have problems with maturity slowing down and therefore becoming harvest comes even later."

Mesple would welcome a warm up. He says the earlier the harvest the higher the quality. "We want it in the nineties but not over 105 so that's what we're after. Just getting a good even temperature. The nights don't get too chilly. We want it temperate."

Mesple showed us the damage caused by 105-degree temperatures from a few weeks ago. "As it got that hot as this fig was maturing the skin became sunburned, become a darker brown as opposed to the lighter greenish, yellow color."

Mesple grows five different fig varieties but the popular Calimyrna fig is rich in Fresno history.

At the turn of the century, Mesple says a certain Mr. Roeding brought over figs from Smyrna, Turkey to a couple of farmers developing fig orchards. Their names were Mr. Bullard and Mr. Forkner. Mesple explained, "Because they were in California Bullard and Forkner thinking this over said we could combine the two. We'd have California Smyrna and it just got pushed together and became Calimyrna."

The Calimyrna fig helped establish the Fig Garden and Old Fig Garden neighborhoods.

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