Heat wave brings early harvest for Valley farmers

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Valley farmers have seen some crops come into season a little early, in part, because of last month's extended heatwave.

If a crop comes early, growers are quick to respond. Several factors are actually at work. The relentless heat can speed up the maturation process, but some farmers also prefer earlier varieties.

Almonds were among the crops some growers said were being harvested a little early this year. Work schedules have been altered throughout the valley's intense heatwave. Now many crews have been busy moving product to processing plants.

The hot sun has helped speed up the development of some nuts and grapes.

Fresno County Deputy Ag Commissioner Melissa Cregan said, "I think it may have made some of them come a little early. However, it might have just maybe counter-balanced the cool spring that we had so I think it really depends on the crop and the variety."

Cregan added at this time of year farmers have to be ready at a moment's notice when their crops begin to come into season. She said, "The heat really does affect the timing of your harvest. You've got to be on top of it and harvest it at the right time because it can go from not ready today to over-ready in a couple of days."

If some crops seem to be coming on early this season, it may be by design.

Cregan explained, "A lot of folks, they are are planting earlier and earlier varieties now because there are market aspects to that. You always want to be the first one to the market."

The harvest can be a stressful time for growers and workers, but in some instances, it is literally the fruit of their labor.
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