Bay Area Farmers Race Against Approaching Cold

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frozen fruit

(AP)

SAN RAFAEL (KCBS) – The cold weather hitting the Bay Area this weekend with promises of snow-capped mountains could turn into a killing freeze for local growers rushing to protect what’s in and above the ground.

At the Marin Farmers Market, growers were checking back at the ranch to make sure preparations were underway for an unusual Arctic air mass expected to drop temperatures into the 20s, especially in the North Bay valleys.

“It’s kind of a bitter sweet thing that it’s been cold because production’s not in full swing yet, so what we lose from this frost won’t be as bad,” said Roscoe Zuckerman.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

The fourth generation asparagus farmer from the San Joaquin Delta said the stakes would have been much higher if warmer temperatures had prevailed and more crops started to bloom.

His season normally runs from late February to mid-May. Zuckerman still expects to lose a good amount of acreage to weekend frost.

Plum trees and peach trees which had just started to bloom at Triple T Ranch and Farm in Santa Rosa were also in danger. Farmer Larry Kidneigh said rot on those flowers would affect the long-term harvest later in the year.

“We’re always concerned over frost damage to our crops, which we’re covering our crops today,” he said, supervising by phone as it drizzled on the sellers in San Rafael.

The freeze could rot the farm’s lettuce, and Kidneigh was expecting at least minor damage to his cooking greens and broccoli.

“Today is really a big push, get as much covered today as possible,” he said.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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