Following a period of below-freezing temperatures in the Central Valley and other parts of California, CDFA’s Division of Inspection Services is working with growers and county agricultural commissioners to assess potential freeze damage to citrus fruit and avocados. There is also concern about other crops grown this time of year, such as lettuce and artichokes.
Crop samples will be obtained from these regions and, because freeze damage typically takes 72 hours to show itself in citrus and up-to five days in avocados, those commodities will be held for a period of time before cutting occurs to determine if there is damage.
While freezing temperatures are always a concern, many growers take steps to protect their crops. In many cases, We know that protected citrus can sustain temperatures well below freezing for several hours.
With citrus, mandarins and lemons are generally more susceptible to damage caused by freezing temperatures, due to multiple factors. If freeze damage is detected in any crops, CDFA will work to make sure the information is provided to emergency officials, and that affected fruit is kept out of the marketplace.
This is a system that has been in place for many years in California. In collaboration with its partners, CDFA will work to develop information as quickly as possible and then facilitate whatever action steps are required.