Cold temps mean quicker deadlines for pickers

YAKIMA, Wash.-- With that freeze warning still in effect until Friday, many farmers around our area are working to keep crops safe.

Mark Barrett is the owner of Barrett Orchards in Yakima. He grows several different varieties of apples at his orchards in both Yakima and Terrace Heights and says the overnight freeze means pickers have to get the apples off the trees sooner.

He says the cold temperatures accelerate the apples ripening process and if they're left on the tree for too long the fruit will go bad.

Combine that with the shortage of workers across the state and farmers could see some problems.

"You only have so many days to pick the certain varieties, in particular Red Delicious right now, with cold temperatures are going to need to come off in a short time," said Mark Barrett.

He says this year's crop is pretty much right on time and his trees are producing nice, big fruit.

Wednesday night's low temps weren't a big deal for Barrett and his orchards, but with temperatures expected to dive even further, he is expecting some frost on the trees Friday morning.

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