Central Valley Raisin, Almond Crops Harmed In Monday's Thunderstorm
Monday’s heavy rain and gusty winds in the valley hurt two of the region’s largest money-making crops.
Fresno County is the top grower of raisins in the country, but Monday’s storm came at the worst moment for farmers growing the crop. At this time of year grapes are laid on paper trays to sun dry. Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen says the full damage to the crop won’t be known for months.
“It actually kicks up sand and the sand lands on top of those grape berries," Jacobsen says. "As it continues to dry it becomes embedded with sand in the wrinkles of the raisin. That obviously makes it an undesirable trait for market.”
Jacobsen says the crop was already smaller because of heavy rains this winter and spring. He also says almonds were harmed by the up to a quarter inch of rain that fell across the region. At this time of year almonds are shook to the ground, vacuumed up and later processed. The moisture increases the risk of losing the crop to things like mold.
"We're hoping the affects are very minimal," Jacobsen says. "If there's a puddle on the ground, and that's where the almonds are laying, then you have an issue there."