California: Winter storms delay citrus harvest in the Valley

Californian growers, although possibly disappointed by the delayed harvest, welcomed another round of heavy rain and fresh powder to pad the snowpack. Some Valley citrus growers rushed to pick ripe fruit off the tree before the arrival of the powerful storm. Still, it is a waiting game for many other farmers who continued to watch heavy rain flood their fields and groves.

Fresno State Orchard Manager Rob Willmott explained, "The furrows are just starting to fill up with water. There's no way you could take any equipment in there. We can't pick the Cara Cara now because of the rain. One, it's unsafe for the workers to be in there while it's raining and everything and slipping on ladders on so forth."

Picking wet oranges is not a good idea. Willmott said consumers would notice marking on the fruit and they probably wouldn't buy it. quoted Willmott as saying: "The peel on the orange will actually absorb the moisture and then you'll get spotting and damages from that as well. So that's why whenever they do pick citrus, they have to make sure all the dew is off the fruit and that it's dry."

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