Growers assess strawberry damage caused by storm

FRESNO, Calif.

Standing water filled furrows at Heulong Siong's strawberry patch at Willow and Behymer in Northeast Fresno. It is a sight growers don't like to see because the rain can easily damage the sweet berries.

Small Farms Advisor Michael Yang spent the day checking damage at Valley farms. Yang explained, "The strawberry growers are concerned about their fruit rotting. If it keeps raining longer the fruit's gonna rot."

Threatening clouds continued to hover over the Valley. Yang said the fields need some time to dry out because it doesn't take long for strawberries to show mold damage. "Just overnight and then tomorrow and then a day or two, that's it. You see when you harvest the fruit it's already soft."

Valley strawberry stands which have already closed grow Chandler and Camarosa varieties. The newer Albion variety still being sold lasts through November. But it's tough anytime families have to close their stand because of the weather. Yang said, "They lose a day or two. It's difficult because the families depend on it."

Most Valley farmers though welcomed the rain. The water gave almond orchards a good soaking. Those who grow crops like sweet corn also benefitted from the free irrigation.

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