By Angela Musallam

SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY — Farmers around the Sacramento region are gearing up for the freezing weather.

Temperatures are expected to fall below 32 degrees around the valley over the next few days, and it’s concerning some farmers.

“These guys are gonna be pretty susceptible to these temps tonight,” said Kyle Lerner, who owns Harney Lane Winery and a cherry orchard.

The unseasonably warm weather has tricked Lerner’s cherry trees into waking up a little too early.

With below freezing temps expected over the next few nights, Lerner says he’s concerned about the fate of his crops.

“If that bud happens to freeze, it will damage any fruit that may actually develop in that particular area,” said Lerner.

He says some of his winery vines are also prematurely budding, which could mean another loss if the temperatures fall below 32 degrees.

Lerner is now working overtime to protect his vineyard and cherry trees.

“We will actually be doing some pre-irrigating which is helping manage the soil and the temperatures,” said Lerner.

He hopes the extra moisture will save his vines and cherries.

“The temperature of the water coming from the ground actually acts as a buffer and will keep that area warmer,” Lerner added.

Lerner isn’t alone.

Almond growers are especially worried about their trees, which also experienced an early bloom this month from the warm weather.

The San Joaquin County Farm Bureau is also weighing in on the cold snap:

“Whether you are in bloom, wherever you are at the production cycle, and you get those cold snaps, it can have a major impact; we are keeping our fingers crossed it doesn’t happen this year,” said Bruce Blodgett, the farm bureau’s executive director.

It’s a waiting game for Lerner and other farmers around the Sacramento region as they roll the dice on this year’s yield.

“Farming is legalized gambling, I always say, high-stakes legalized gambling with far more variables than we can control,” Lerner said.

Lerner will be out on his vineyard and cherry orchard Monday night to survey his crops and make sure the sprinklers are in working order.


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