Citrus handlers asked to hold fruit shipments

There are new recommendations for growers and packers, after concerns over freezing temperatures damaging fruit.
BAKERSFIELD, CA- There are new recommendations for growers and packers, after concerns over freezing temperatures damaging fruit.

Kern County agriculture officials are asking packers to wait 48 hours before packing fruit that is harvested Wednesday, or later.
 
Ag staffers will then begin mandatory packing house inspections, to test fruit samples.

Growers can also contact the agency about conducting their own tests.

All this is underway as farmers try to head off the freeze with wind machines, and warm water irrigation, designed to send steam up into the tree.

"And the steam rises and circulates the cold air so it's not sitting on the fruit. To raise it one degree, or one half degree is not much but it's enough sometimes to keep you going," said citrus grower Dick Minetti.

The first frost test by the county ag department was Monday.  It showed only minor frost damage to area citrus.

Officials say the packing house inspections have not yet been scheduled, but they will head off a moratorium.  This means the growers will not stop picking the fruit because of the freeze.

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