Valley farmers preparing for colder temperatures to hit

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Tree fruit and almond orchards all over the Valley have come to life.

Blossoms are in full bloom in many areas and, because of that, California Fresh Fruit Association President Ian LeMay says farmers hope temperatures don't dip too low this week.

"Where it starts to get worrisome, and it's in the forecast right now, is at that 28-degree level," he said. Anything at that or below that for any sustained amount of time can cause some damage."

If blossoms are damaged by freezing temperatures, growers won't notice any deformed or very small fruit for another month and a half or so.

LeMay doesn't expect any widespread damage to the fruit crop based on the current forecast but location could be a factor.

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"If you have an orchard that's in a lower-lying area, that might be more susceptible, you might see some cooler weather damage there," he said. "Other areas, you might not."

LeMay says some growers may irrigate orchards to release warmth from the ground to help protect the blossoms in areas where we hit 28 degrees.

But rain doesn't pose a problem to the crop.

"I think we'd all be hard-pressed to find a farmer who won't welcome some precipitation," LeMay said. "Locally, we all know we need it. This is going to be another difficult water year."

Citrus growers welcome the colder temperatures right now because they say it helps improve the quality of the fruit.

California Citrus Mutual says some areas like west Lindsay and even Sanger already hit the 28 and 29-degree mark over the weekend.
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