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Archive for December, 2013

The California Freeze Continues

Today as we start the 2nd week of the California freeze temperatures drop lower than ever across the state.  San Francisco came in at 36 last night and parts of Marin County across the Golden Gate Bridge were as low as 15. The extreme cold temperatures are expected to last through at least Wednesday.  The cold weather is preventing many farm workers from getting out in the fields early to pick. They are waiting until the weather warms up later in the morning which is affecting the amount of produce harvested. Buyer beware! There is a possibility that supply may be down and prices may increase in the coming weeks.

In the San Joaquin Valley where much of the California citrus is grown the temperatures reached as low as the high teens in some areas.  The biggest worry is the thin skinned mandarins.  Navels and lemons have thicker skins and hold up better during the cold weather. In order to try and assess the damage from the frost many growers will take samples of the fruit and will hold them for a few days at room temperature before cutting into them. The freezing cold weather can freeze the liquid inside the cells of the fruit, cracking the cells and drying out the piece of fruit. Unfortunately frost damage is not always apparent right away and sometimes it takes weeks for the damage to show up.

Last week I interviewed Rich Ferreira from Side Hill Citrus in Lincoln, CA about ½ hour north of Sacramento. Today Rich told us that the weather is continuing to hold in the low 20’s and he is not worried about the Satsumas being damaged by the cold.  Satsumas can withstand weather as low as 20 degrees and Side Hill is lucky to be located on a sloping hill which offers natural air flow protection. The cold air flows down the slope and drains into the low spots of the valley. This natural air flow prevents the cold air from settling on the citrus and frost from forming.  Some growers will use wind machines or hire helicopters to hover over the orchards, stirring up the cold air and preventing it from settling on the fruit and causing frost damage.  In addition the orchard is south facing, allowing the trees to receive energy from the sunlight and at the same time warming up the soil, helping to prevent frost.   Rich grows the best Satsuma Mandarins in our opinion and we anticipate the season going through the end of the holidays.

It is too early to tell the damage on veg grown all over California but we can expect to see some damage on sensitive leafy items like lettuces. The main growing areas at this time of year are Coachella and Imperial Valley but there are pockets all over California. For example Willey Farms out of Madera, just north of Fresno. During the winter many of the warm veg items like cucumbers, squash, peppers and tomatoes are coming out of Mexico. Although the freeze did not reach Mexico the temperatures did go down to 40 which has briefly slowed down production.

Brian from Earl’s Sales department recommends making a Hot Ginger Satsuma tea to stay warm during the freeze. Click here for the recipe and check back with Earl’s for the latest produce updates.

Satsumas used for Packer Ad

Hot Ginger Satsuma Tea

From Brian Gordon- Sales Associate Extraordinaire

 Makes 2 cups

 

*  6 Satsumas or more if you like

*  1 inch of ginger sliced

*  2 tablespoons of honey

*  Pinch of Cayenne

*  4 oz whiskey-Preferably Jack Daniels

 

Prepare 2 mugs with 1 tablespoon of honey in each and 2 oz (or to taste) of whiskey in each mug.

Then slowly heat the sliced ginger in 1 cup of water in a covered saucepan until it begins to simmer. Continue to simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Hand squeeze the Satsuma juice into the saucepan. Slice up a few of the Satsuma peels and add to the saucepan. Simmer for another 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat and add a pinch of cayenne to the mix. Let it sit for about 5 minutes.

Brian likes to keep the peels in his tea but feel free to strain.

Perfect for when you are feeling under the weather. Satsumas contain synephrine a natural decongestant.

Katherine from Earl's drinking a warm beverage on a freezing day. She is saving the whiskey for after work hours.

Katherine from Earl’s drinking a warm beverage on a freezing day. She is saving the whiskey for after work hours.

Freezing Cold Temperatures

The freezing cold weather in Northern California is on everyone’s mind this morning.  The low this morning in San Francisco was 39 and the high is only projected for 50. We are now in the middle of the Satsuma season and this morning I called Rich Ferreira, the Side Hill Citrus grower from Lincoln, CA to see how his Satsuma trees are faring during the cold weather.

Rich said that the temperatures dropped to about 22-25 degrees last night and the cold weather is expected to go through Tuesday, with Saturday being the coldest day. Satsumas unlike many types of citrus are able to withstand temperatures as cold as 20 degrees. Side Hill Citrus is located about a half hour north of Sacramento. The key is how many hours it stays cold. The longer it stays cold each day and when it goes on for multiple days, this can cause problems.

MAP-Side-Hill-Citrus

The cold weather can freeze the liquid inside the cells of the fruit, cracking the cells and drying out the piece of fruit. Rich doesn’t think it was cold enough last night to have a negative effect on the fruit.  He also has two things on his side. His orchard is lucky to have slopping hills(hence the name Side Hill) so that they get a little natural air flow protection and secondly the temperature today will rise to 50 which will warm up the soil and protect the trees. Rich will wait it out for a few hours today until the temperature is warmer and then start cutting pieces of fruit to see how they look inside. Sometimes though, the grower cannot tell if the piece of fruit has been damaged until a few weeks after the frost is over. Stay tuned for updates on the weather and how it is affecting your produce.

Satsumas Go Through December

Satsumas from Side Hill citrus in Lincoln, CA got started early this year and we anticipate them going through Christmas depending on the weather. Typically the season goes for about 4 to 6 weeks and we are hoping it will last 8 weeks this year. Click here for the full blog.

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Satsuma Season Goes Long

Satsumas from Side Hill citrus in Lincoln, CA got started early this year and we anticipate them going through Christmas depending on the weather. Typically the season goes for about 4 to 6 weeks and we are hoping it will last 8 weeks this year. The sugars are fully developed for a super sweet and juicy seedless piece of fruit. Satsumas are incredibly easy to peel and don’t leave a sticky mess on your hands. Put a few in your bag for a quick snack.  I love tossing Satsuma slices in a spinach or kale salad with toasted walnuts or juicing them for a smoothie. How do you enjoy your Satsumas?

Satsumas galore from Side Hill Citrus in Lincoln, CA

Satsumas galore from Side Hill Citrus in Lincoln, CA

 

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