California Heat Wave - Growers Show Due Diligence as Weather Concerns Travel Across the Golden State
CALIFORNIA - Alongside many produce operators, ANUK is based in California. With an intimate view of heat waves, our team both sees and feels the effects of these weather patterns. Triple-digit temperatures are expected in the state throughout the weekend—we touched base with several growers to see how these conditions are affecting operations.
Tito Martinez, Executive Vice President of Farming for Country Sweet Produce, offered his insights on the current heat wave rolling across the Central Valley.
“Anything above 105 degrees affects the plant’s ability to grow,” he told me. “They get stunned, and some crops, like watermelons, can get sunburned if they aren’t covered correctly. If a plant is overloaded, it will abort younger fruit in order to sustain itself. You will see this type of weather affect quality and sizing.”
In order to protect its crops, Country Sweet Produce utilizes crop-protective materials to protect fruit from sun exposure and irrigation strategies to keep the water moving and the crops as fresh as possible.
“This weather also affects people. Most who are acclimated are used to 105-degree weather—obviously while also getting enough water and break times. But continuing to work in those conditions for extended periods of time is not something they can maintain,” Tito added.
According to a report from USA Today, the National Weather Service announced that 40 million people in the Western region of the United States are under a heat advisory. Record high temperatures in Northern California and the Central Valley are expected. The service also noted that temperatures are expected to be roughly 10 to 20 degrees above average.
Gary Clevenger, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Freska Produce International, also weighed in on the weather.
“So far, the heat wave has been mild and not too hot, from the looks of the weather here in Ventura County,” stated Gary. “It should be a non event—highs in Santa Paula growing regions are only expected to be in the high 80s–low 90s. This should not effect avocados or strawberry growing regions, which should see temperatures in the low 70s, which is excellent growing weather.”
Martin Jefferson, Production Manager of Duda Farm Fresh Foods, commented on the state of Salinas and Oxnard areas.
“We are currently starting crews extra early to beat the heat and still stay abreast of daily operational needs as well as being very proactive with irrigation,” Martin noted. “We are also ensuring crews have proper access to shade and ample opportunities to hydrate. Although a little early to tell how much, we’re expecting some quality concerns from the heat that will appear in the coming weeks.”
As we make our way into the weekend, AndNowUKnow will continue to keep our eyes peeled for any potential effects.