Cold Weather Has SoCal Citrus Growers Working Overtime

Many are digging deeper into their wallets to protect their crops

By Jacob Rascon and Neil Costes
|  Thursday, Jan 3, 2013  |  Updated 10:54 AM PDT
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One citrus grower in Redlands wakes up in the middle of the night to check on her crop's livelihood. If the temperature dips below 30 degrees, she has to turn on a machine to warm the crops. Jacob Rascon reports from Redlands for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Jan. 2, 2013.

Jacob Rascon

One citrus grower in Redlands wakes up in the middle of the night to check on her crop's livelihood. If the temperature dips below 30 degrees, she has to turn on a machine to warm the crops. Jacob Rascon reports from Redlands for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Jan. 2, 2013.

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Sleepless nights have become a common thing for Redlands citrus grower Beth Sanders.

"We've been on frost alert for at least a week," Sanders said.

As temperatures dip, so does her hand into her wallet. That's because she has to run a giant fan to warm her crops.

"It costs hundreds of dollars a night to run," she said.

She sets her alarm for every two hours so she can check the thermometer. If it gets below 30 degrees, she has to turn on the machine.

"We're a little sleep deprived," Sanders said.

But if she can keep this up, she knows it will be worth it, since some cold weather can actually be good for oranges.

"Brings up the color and the sugar," she said. "This is our best crop, we think, if we can make it through the next couple of weeks."

Sanders estimates she spends between $15,000 and $20,000 to keep up with her crop each year, not to mention the hundreds of hours of labor.
 

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