Rain causes problems with local farmers

FRESNO, Calif.

Concern is highest among raisin growers who needed a few more hot days to dry their crop. But some specialty crop farmers are already seeing rain damage.

Pang Chang knew the water damage would be immediate in his Easton orchard. Chang grows jujube, a sweet fruit popular in Asian markets.

University of California Small Farm Advisor Richard Molinar showed us what happens when jujubes get soaked during harvest. Molinar explained, "As the fruits ripen the sugars are concentrated on the outside and they're more prone to splitting and that's what we're seeing here."

Chang is in the middle of his harvest. Jujube is also known as Chinese date. Fruit being boxed will be shipped to bay area stores. Chang hopes the skies will clear to minimize the cracking in his crop.

Molinar said, "It happens very quickly and can consume a lot of the jujube market and the tomato, fresh market tomato crop as well."

The rain came at a bad time for some in the raisin industry. The crop is still drying on trays in many areas. Wet raisins can suffer mold and mildew damage if they don't get enough sun to dry out. Some growers spent the day rolling up their trays to further protect their raisins.

Fresno County Farm Bureau Executive Director Ryan Jacobsen says raisin growers are hoping for both heat and a breeze. Jacobsen said, "Approximately 30-percent of the crop is still out there. Right now we haven't had a lot of the rain all over the Valley but there have been a couple of spots that have been hit disproportionately so those guys are hoping we have some nice sunny weather over the next couple of days."

Many almond growers are also worried about more rain. In some orchards you still have nuts drying on the ground.

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