California Winter Citrus Update
The recent California rains were brought on by an atmospheric river weather pattern consisting of large amounts of humidity. They are usually over a 1,000 miles long and over a 100 miles wide, and can carry a greater flux of water than the Amazon, the largest river on earth.
The rain has halted most of the citrus harvesting in the three main growing regions except for in small sporadic amounts. There may be some small pockets that are dry enough to pick and pack but for the most part we don’t expect volume to be back to normal until the end of next week. Any fruit being picked is a tedious process because of the difficulty of bringing a ladder into a muddy orchard.
Growers will try and pick as much fruit as they can before the rains start. Once it rains the fruit needs a few days to dry before they can begin picking again. If they are picked and packed before they are dry they will have a higher incidence of developing the post-harvest disease called clear rot. Clear rot is not immediately evident but will show up as softening of the tissue with possible mold. Although this rain will be very beneficial in the long term it is disrupting supply in the short term. The citrus varieties affected include navels, all mandarins, blood oranges, lemons, cara cara’s, minneola’s and grapefruits. Stay tuned for updates.