Cherimoyas choked by smoke

Nature takes a toll on agriculture in California

In Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, growers and officials remain in clean up and assessment mode following the Thomas Fire and ensuing mud flows. Fire torched vast avocado groves in the Santa Paula and Fillmore areas before blazing through orchards along Casitas Pass Road.

Overall crop damage is largely hit or miss: individual farmers are sometimes devastated, but the state’s overall crop is still looking fairly robust for the 2018 harvest.

For the cherimoya trees in Carpinteria Valley, direct fire damage wasn’t the only culprit. Weeks after the fire threatened to engulf the hills, the delicate fruit, now in season, began dropping from the trees due to smoke damage.

Coastalview.com learned of growers of the rare fruit around the valley, who saw their light-green, grenade-looking fruits shrivel and fall to the ground.

Cherimoyas are a specialty fruit used infrequently in U.S. households, but 80 percent of the crop grown in the United States is harvested locally. Most of the fruit is destined for China and Japan, where it is considered a delicacy for its soft, pulpy texture and tropical flavour.


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