Warm weather is of bigger concern

California citrus and berry growers were prepared for the rain

California received its first real winter weather yesterday when a substantial rainstorm swept through the state. It will continue raining for most of today. Much of the Sacramento Valley could receive up to two inches of rain, but citrus growing region Central Valley received about 0.25 inches until yesterday afternoon. Although citrus harvest is going strong, growers don’t seem to be concerned. “The rain does interrupt harvest as we do not harvest the fruit when wet. However, we were able to plan ahead and pick heavier this past Saturday and Sunday,” says Scott Woods, Field Manager with Fowler, CA -based Bee Sweet Citrus. He doesn’t expect any delays in supplying the customers.

Comments from Brett Burdsal with Suntreat out of Dinuba are along the same lines. “The light rain is normal for this time of year and very welcomed,” he says. “It won’t affect quality and most of the rain is being absorbed into the ground easily.” John Chamberlain with Limoneira also confirms that the rain does not impact supply. 

Closer to the coast, strawberries are being harvested in the Watsonville area. "We harvested Sunday ahead of rain and are not expecting major damage," says Vinnie Lopes with Naturipe Farms. The company is harvesting proprietary varieties along with some Petaluma, Fronterras and San Andreas. 

Warm weather affects quality
“The bigger factor is the warm day-time temperatures,” Woods shared. It has been relatively warm in California for the time of year. “We like to see the lows in the 30s and highs of 50⁰F this time of year. The warm weather matures the fruit faster and it won’t be as good of quality come the spring,” Woods mentioned.

Bee Sweet Citrus is currently harvesting Navel oranges, Blood Oranges, Cara Cara Navels, lemons, Minneolas, Page mandarins, Tango mandarins, organics and Pummelos.

It is expected to stop raining tonight. The forecast for the remainder of the week is partly cloudy weather with another chance of rain on Tuesday of next week.

For more information:
Monique Bienvenue
Bee Sweet Citrus
Tel: 559-834-5345

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