Freezing temperatures may be part of winter in the Valley, but the can harm citrus, a top Valley crop. Freezing damages the fruit.
Farms have some tricks to fight the freeze. Orchards can be warmed with water. Giant fans known as “wind machines” can help hold this heat near the ground or blow in warmer air from above.
The coolest air tends to pool on the Valley floor. Often, warmer temperatures are as few as tens to hundreds of feet above.
Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen says a freeze right now is typically better than in early winter because fruity like oranges are more mature. “This is the time of year when citrus hopefully receives less damage because of the higher sugar content and thicker rinds.”
In another couple weeks a freeze like this could potentially damage next year’s crops. “We’re going to start seeing blooms here for a lot of our tree and nut crops. … Those blooms are very sensitive. A lot more sensitive than citrus is.”