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US (CA): Grape growers on central coast worried about rain

The clock is ticking for grape growers on the central coast as they rush to harvest the fruit as the rain hits hard. "I think the concern is if we have continuing raining patterns in the next 10 days when they're trying to finish up harvesting it will have a big impact," said Norm Groot, executive director for the Monterey County Farm Bureau. Groot said that could mean grapes with disease, and lower sugar counts.

The grape season is about 2/3 the way through, so growers are trying to get the most out of their product and the bulk of the crop off the vine in the next couple of weeks before another rainstorm strikes. "There are concerns that the rain will either cause mold or mildew on the grapes themselves," Groot said. "That causes them to have less of a value and also impacts the flavor, as well as the sugar on the grapes."

Grapes are one of the largest crops in Monterey County, bringing in $140 million last year, and about $2 million in Santa Cruz County. "Hopefully there is no impact and, if there is, the impact is minimal," Groot said.


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