(UDPATED COVERAGE, Jan. 20) Temperatures in the low 20s in California citrus growing regions the night of Jan. 16 and morning of Jan. 17 damaged some mandarins but spared oranges.

California strawberries, broccoli and artichokes also were affected by the cold weather.

Some groves north of Fresno endured several hours of temperatures in the low 20s, said Bob Blakely, director of industry relations for Exeter-based California Citrus Mutual.

That will likely mean some mandarin losses, though it was too soon to tell how much, he said. Wind and water machines proved sufficient to prevent any damage to oranges.

“(Orange) growers are reporting no damage,” Blakely said. “In the coldest regions, some mandarins suffered significant damage, though it’s too early to put numbers on it.”

The quality of the fruit that survived the cold was not expected to be affected, Blakely said.

South of Fresno, temperatures bottomed out in the mid-20s, and fruit appeared to have remained undamaged, Blakely said.

Temperatures dipped into the high 20s in some regions the night of Jan. 17 and morning of Jan. 18 but were not expected to cause additional damage, according to a California Citrus Mutual news release.

Orange Cove, Calif.-based Cecelia Packing Corp. did not expect any significant losses to its mandarin or navel crops, said Randy Jacobsen, sales manager.

“It’s still being assessed, but it appears our frost protection measures were successful,” he said.

A cold December helped prepare fruit for the January freezes, helping to minimize damage, said Neil Galone, vice president of sales and marketing for Orange Cove-based Booth Ranches LLC.

“We did have to run machines for the umpteenth time, but I think we dodged a bullet,” Galone said.


Low temperatures in California’s El Centro and Brawley growing regions likely won’t affect broccoli volumes or quality for Salinas, Calif.-based Coastline Produce, but they likely will slow plant growth, said Ben Wilson, broccoli commodity manager.

“It could push our stuff back a week to 10 days,” he said.

Broccoli supplies were already starting to level off, and growers were subsequently hoping for stronger markets, when the freezes hit, Wilson said.

As a result, the market “could be smoking again” by late January or early February, he said.


The artichoke harvest in the Castroville, Calif., region was set back about 10 days, and significant damage sustained, for Castroville-based Ocean Mist Farms, artichoke manager Bob Polovneff said.

But the bulk of the company’s artichokes are coming from the Coachella region this time of year, with Castroville not expected to peak until the spring, Polovneff said.

As a result, overall effects on supplies are expected to be minimal, and Polovneff said he does not expect a change in markets.

By about early February, supplies in Castroville should be back to normal, he said.


Strawberries in Oxnard and Orange County weathered the cold temperatues well, but volumes in Santa Maria will likely be affected through about mid-February, said Carolyn O'Donnell, communications director for the Watsonville-based California Strawberry Commission.

Spokesmen from Salinas-based Colorful Harvest and Oxnard-based Boskovich Farms and Deardorff Family Farms reported no damage.