Ventura fires skirt bulk of production

05/03/2013 09:37:00 AM
Mike Hornick

Fires that prompted evacuations of some schools and neighborhoods May 2 in Ventura County, Calif., had comparatively minor effect on agriculture in the Oxnard area.

Spokesmen for Boskovich Farms and Deardorff Family Farms said none of their crops burned, but news media report some fields in the region were affected.

“We have ranches that were in the path of smoke from the fires,” said Russ Widerburg, sales manager at Boskovich Farms. “So we had to curtail harvest on four or five items about mid-morning. The air quality affected the labor force so they pulled some crews. Probably some strawberry growers and maybe a half dozen vegetable growers were affected. We’re one of them.”

The real effect was higher up.

“There are some growing areas nestled up against the foothills that were affected,” Widerburg said. “But we’re in the flatlands, probably 7 or 8 miles from the fires.”

“No crops burned here,” he said. “I did hear that there were a few storage facilities and equipment yards that had some damage.”

“The fires themselves won’t do the damage,” he said May 2. “We had some record-high temperatures. There could be weather damage. Radish is very sensitive. When you have 90-degree temperatures and 40 mph winds, the tops get beat up. We’ll end up losing some small acreage of radish and maybe some spinach.”

The evacuations included sites in Newbury Park and Camarillo.



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