California's drought, heat waves causing lower citrus yield, smaller fruit

Don't be surprised if the citrus you find at the grocery store this season is smaller than in years past.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Don't be surprised if the citrus you find at the grocery store this season is smaller than in years past.

Growers say early navel varieties generally are running smaller this year, putting a premium on larger offerings.

Matt Fisher, a Central California farmer who has citrus groves from Orange Cove to Bakersfield, said multiple factors come into play, including the state's ongoing drought and triple-digit heat waves.

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"It's one of those seasons where you're fighting every single day to make sure you have supply," Fisher said.

The heat causes trees to shut down, resulting in a smaller crop.

Meanwhile, a survey of state citrus growers shows the costs of bringing citrus to market have jumped 19% since early 2020.

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Factors impacting those costs include ballooning costs of surface water and increased expenses for fuel and fertilizer.

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