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Murcott Tangerine Crop lost

A freeze in Reedley, CA near Fresno has resulted in a lost Murcott Tangerine crop to Buddell Farms, a small citrus grower.  Their Murcott crop was damaged by 31 days of frost in December. When there is a freeze or heavy frost, the damage comes from the duration of the cold, not so much with the low temperature.  Six nights in a row of 25-26 degree weather for 6-8 hours a night is what caused the damage to the Murcott crop.  Murcotts have thin skin and the trees are young and not as hearty as say a navel which has a thick skin to protect the flesh.

Usually there is more rain in December and January bringing moisture and fog that keeps the temperatures up so the citrus doesn’t freeze.  The freeze and frost stunts the maturity of the fruit and causes issues such as dry cell. High sugar levels help protect from the frost but because it is a late season fruit the sugar levels were still low.  Unfortunately there is no way to tell if the crop is damaged just by looking at the fruit.  You have to cut it to see if the citrus is dried out.  This freeze means that there may be limited availability for organic Murcotts and higher prices.

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