Farmers Work Fast to Save Crops as Heat Moves In

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SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY -- They’ve been picked, plucked and saved from this week’s extreme heat in San Joaquin County and now nectarines, plums, peaches and cherries are on sale at the Fruit Bowl.

“There have been some issues, naturally," said Ralph Lucchetti, a farmer and the co-owner of the Fruit Bowl. "It’s not uncommon to get this kind of heat this time of the year, I think.”

Lucchetti said they’re used to the beating sun, but just not for this long.

“Fortunately, we knew this was coming from the weather forecasting," Lucchetti said.

Lucchetti said they worked feverishly to harvest as much fruit as they could this week, while trying to keep the orchard floor as cool as possible.

“And we were able to sufficiently irrigate and keep the trees so they weren’t stressed,” Lucchetti said.

According to Lucchetti, the heat can sometimes cook the flesh of the fruit. Take for instance, the apricot. He said the pit becomes a heat source, cooking the flesh surrounding it.

“Doesn’t really affect the flavor, but it’s less desirable,” Lucchetti said.

Other times, the triple digit heat causes the fruit to ripen faster resulting in what he calls “cosmetically challenged” fruit.

“Someone’s looking to make jam or something like that, those are 50 cents a pound, so it’s a good buy,” he told FOX40.

The executive director with the San Joaquin County Farm Bureau said, overall, there hasn’t been much of an impact because many farmers learned from the heat wave of 2006, when many of them lost animals and crops.