Rain a welcome sight for Santa Maria area farmers

Farmers dealing with issues from recent freeze

Rain a welcome sight for Santa Maria area farmers

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Rain has been a welcome sight across the Santa Maria Valley for area farmers.

"We can always use more rain," said Innovative Produce owner George Adam. "Normal production should take place and Santa Maria should really benefit from the condition."

While the recent rain has been a positive for local farmers, unusually cold weather experienced just ahead of the storm is presenting some issues.

"We haven't had as much challenge with the rain like last year. This year it's going to be more of the freeze," Adam said. "We're seeing the consequences of that. Plants that are stressed, we'll be dealing with those complications the next few weeks."

Santa Maria area farmers said the freezing cold temperatures were particularly troublesome on the eastside of the valley.

"Going down into the mid-20's in a lot of areas is going to give us a lot of product quality issues later on and it may with the warmer temperatures and then this cooling off, it may create gaps in production," Adam said.

Adam added strawberries were especially susceptible to the frost.

"A lot of the red fruit was lost immediately and a lot of the green fruit may be impacted over the next several weeks and the blooms were also damaged during some of the heavy freezing," said Adam. "The older crops have gotten through it fine. It's the younger plantings that may have been more impacted with the cold temperatures and stresses put on from that, so we're seeing a little bit of a gap in larger, older crops, but it remains to be seen how the younger plantings will be affected."

With freezing temperatures no longer in the forecast through the next several days, the recent frost may be just a minor bump in the road.

"In the grand scheme of things, these are things that we expect," said Adam. "It may create markets later on, so it just depends on how things play out and sometimes it can be a blessing in disguise if production is off a little bit."

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