EGVM quarantine ends in Valley

FRESNO, Calif.

Grapevine buds were just about ready to break open in a Sanger vineyard. The growing season always brings renewed optimism to Valley growers like David Sarabian. Sarabian was one of 482 Fresno county farmers affected by the quarantine.

The Sanger grower recalled, "During that time before we harvested any crops we had to call the inspector. They had to come out to the field and either look at bunches of crops or cut tree fruit and make sure there was no infested fruit."

The discovery of the EGVM came at an especially bad time for tree fruit growers in 2010. Produce from the quarantined area had to be identified and isolated.

Barry Bedwell of the California Grape and Tree fruit League said stone fruit producers ended up losing export markets in Canada and Mexico. Bedwell said, "Markets were temporarily closed down so for early season tree fruit growers at this time, not even vineyard owners but tree fruit owners, they suffered the brunt of the impact of the quarantine."

The search for invasive pests has resumed in Valley vineyards and orchards. But extra fumigation is no longer required.

Sarabian said, "Being that it's lifted it's a relief we can spray on our own timing and save us at least one spray a year in treating it."

The quarantine regulations were costly but growers are now relieved they can return to normal harvest procedures.

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