Valley citrus growers trying to protect their crops from freezing temperatures

FRESNO, Calif. -- Valley citrus growers are aggressively protecting their crops due to freezing temperatures and plan to continue to do so in the coming days.

Even though it's Christmas Sun West Fruit Ranch manager Greg Thonesen hasn't gotten a lot of sleep. He's been up late protecting these oranges near Del Rey expecting a marginal frost Friday night and a hard freeze Saturday night. "This is a very critical time and we have to get through the next couple of nights, and then additionally the next two or three weeks and then hopefully we'll make it through another winter."

These tango mandarins are especially fragile during a freeze so they run water and turn on these wind machines to bump up the temperature, and reduce the threat of damage to the crops. The good news is growers have been through this before. Thonesen said they've already seen long stretches of cold nights since Thanksgiving. "They're forecasting colder temperatures tomorrow night, but we are a little bit later in the season so we have more of our crop harvested and additionally the sugar content of the fruit is higher which helps it protect itself more."

It's Christmas but it's work that must be done to get this fruit, into the hands of the consumer.
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