Raisin harvest brings relief

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- After a rainy start to the week Valley raisin growers were glad the warm conditions have returned.

It's estimated 40% of the raisin crop was still out there drying so some growers don't want any more rain until their crop has been completely picked up.

Crews in Biola steadily made their way through a vineyard picking up trays of raisins. Grower Stan Morita was relieved to see raisins in the bin. On Monday his farm saw three hours of drizzle.

Morita explained, "I know we need the rain for the drought but the timing is bad for us as raisin growers."

Fortunately for Morita two-thirds of his crop was already rolled up. The rest of the raisins were laid out to dry. Some of them still need another week to dry.

Morita added, "It looks like raisins on the top and then you flip it over and it looks like grapes."

Most of the raisins are ready for the packing house though Stan took a rake to the fruit in the bin to clear the top layer.

"We just try to pull out things like a little bit of this rot and dirt clods."

This week's wind and warmup eased grower concerns as they helped the raisins resume the drying process.

Morita said, "Everything's been picked. That's a great thing so we're just waiting for Mother Nature to do her part."

Stan said this year's crop was much bigger than last year. The assessment was similar to the overall industry outlook which called for a bigger than average raisin crop.

The grower price though was still being negotiated.

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