Citrus growers bracing for freezing temperatures

Citrus growers bracing for freezing temperatures »Play Video
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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — For the past 40 years, Ben Taft's family has run the California Fruit Depot in Edison off Highway 58. Taft's family has nurtured the soil, producing navel and Valencia oranges, running a business, in a place they love.

For the next several days the National Weather Service has issued a host of watches and warning related to the frigid weather. There is potential for freezing temperatures that could render crops lifeless that would be worth millions of dollar.

“This weekend is getting into that area and those durations below 32 degrees at those durations are not friendly to the citrus grower,” Taft said. “When the outside temperatures get extremely cold, we lose that little bit of insulation that the fruit provides and the juice cells rupture and that's where the damage comes.”

Running water through the orchard and use of wind turbines are tools that can be used when conditions permit.

The process has been proven to raise temps by some 8-10 degrees.

“When its 22 and it could kill your crop, that 10 degrees is a lifesaver,” Taft said.

Taft also offered advice for residents with fruit trees in their backyard: “If the oranges in your backyard taste good now and it's going to be really cold, pick what you think you can eat in the next few weeks.”