Freeze warning hurting local citrus farms

Many mandarins and lemons will be affected

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Overnight temperatures dropping below freezing for the fifth night in a row has many local citrus farmers on edge. Steve Murray, the owner of Murray Family Farms in Bakersfield, works hard to keep his fruit alive.

"We've got our crops covered to try to hold in the heat. The other thing is if you have a bare orchid floor, that's good for about one to three degrees extra."

Deputy director Manuel Villicana at the Department of Agriculture said they will wait 72 hours after the freeze to cut open the fruit and look for any warning signs of freeze damage.

"We'll see wetness in the citrus which indicates that the sacks have burst because of the freeze."

 

Murray also said the citrus freeze could be bad for business.

 

"It stops all picking for the next three days until people can sort it out so all of a sudden there will be a glut in the market where theres no fruit."

 

Villicana said naval oranges will most likely survive because they contain large amounts of sugar and have a thicker skin.

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