Valley crops sustain freeze damage

FRESNO, Calif.

Freezing temperatures turned once lush green patches into dead vegetation in Fresno county. Some crops died on the vine while others simply froze over.

Fresno farmer Bentley Vang lost much of his chayote crop. Chayote is popular in soups and stir-fry dishes.

Fresno County Small Farms Advisor Michael Yang was busy checking on crop damage. Yang said, "You can see the napa cabbage they're all burned because of the freeze."

Fortunately many leafy vegetables can handle the cold. The burned leaves will just be peeled off.

Bentley Vang sells his fruits and vegetables at the Berkeley farmers market. His spinach crop though didn't make it. He said some of his vegetables were covered in ice.

Yang said, "If the farmer don't cover it will be all dead like this except a few that look okay."

On some farms you'll notice several crops covered with plastic tarps. They include lemon grass and sugar cane.

It's hard work but it can mean the difference between having a crop and not having one at all.

Heat during the day builds up and helps protect the plants during the bitter cold. Yang explained, "Right now if you go inside one of those tunnel houses it would be very hot. Maybe 80-90 degrees in there. In the afternoon probably over 100 too. Very hot, very humid inside."

Inside you can see the lemon grass remains nice and green. Much different than lemon grass left unprotected.

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