Warming weather impacts Valley crops

FRESNO, Calif.

Workers in a Northeast Fresno strawberry patch wore protective clothing to shield the sun. The job is never-ending because consumers can't get enough of the large, deep red strawberries grown locally.

Staying hydrated is important for everyone in the fields. The sun helps sweeten the berries but Fresno farmer Heulong Siong doesn't want his crop to get too much of a good thing. He explained, "Today I think it's too hot a little bit. 90-degress is too hot for the strawberry. Usually I prefer 85, 75."

Too much heat too soon can burn the strawberries. Siong said only the sweetest strawberries make it from the field to his stand at Willow and Behymer.

The sun also helped white-flesh peaches in Kingsburg mature. The warmer the temperatures the sooner the fruit ripens.

Wayne Brandt of Brandt Farms said the stonefruit varieties he grows are specially bred for the intense valley heat. "They can handle this weather very well. We're glad it's going to be 90-degrees, we just assumed its 90 from now on. We like that."

Brandt's white flesh peaches are his earliest variety. Wayne also offered a helpful tip when buying peaches. "If you see green on the stem end then it was picked immature. Now this one has color all the way around."

The stonefruit harvest is running a little late this year. But you'll soon have your fill of fresh peaches, plums and nectarines.

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