“One grower I talked to had their wind machines in place and they were servicing others in the Oxnard plain to be ready just in case,” Carolyn O’Donnell, communications director for the Watsonville-based California Strawberry Commission, said Dec. 4. “The guys in Oxnard will have temperature sensors that alarm their smartphones to let them know when temperatures do drop enough to institute frost protection.”
Avocado growers in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties had frost protection measures ready if needed, said Tim Spann, research project manager at the California Avocado Commission.
“Most growers know where their cold spots in their groves are, so it’s those historically cold spots we really have to worry about,” Spann said. “There is fruit hanging on the tree for next year’s harvest, and that’s the real risk. The flower buds are still tight; it would have to be a really hard frost, probably down into the teens, to affect them.”
The Salinas Valley also had freezing temperatures. But vegetable production has already transitioned to the Arizona and California deserts.