What’s Good for You Now, Winter’s Tasty Citrus Fruits
The ringing phone in the middle of the night startled LJ awake. “This can’t be good,” he thought as he noted the caller ID. “Uday, everything okay?”
“I’m sorry to wake you LJ, I’ve got an urgent problem. Nisha and I are calling for help. The temperature has been below 28 degrees for the past four hours. This means our citrus trees can be permanently damaged if they don’t get water. I found a leak in the mainline that feeds the micro-sprinklers and just got it fixed, but each sprinkler needs to be checked and adjusted. There are hundreds of them. Can you help?”
LJ was getting dressed as he listened. “Yes, of course. I should be there in about forty-five minutes.”
“Thanks, and dress for freezing weather. Drive straight out to the citrus orchards; we’ll meet you there,” said Uday as he rushed off the phone.
Annie looked at LJ, “I’m going too. You can fill me in on the drive.”
“Ok, dress warmly, Annie; it’s frigid.”
The drive out to East County was beautiful. The further they drove away from the city’s lights, the clearer the sky, and more stars were revealed. The light of the full moon contributed to the ethereal look of the slumbering landscape.
“Sweetheart, what did Uday tell you?”
“They need help with their water system. The citrus crop is in trouble due to the dropping temperature. To save it during a freeze, growers aim micro-sprinklers at the base of a tree that sprays an icy mist engulfing the trunk and lower branches. Once on the tree, the mist converts to ice and emits heat. As the water continuously changes to ice, the ice-water mixture’s temperature remains at 32 degrees. That temperature protects the tree and fruit; anything below begins to cause damage. Uday said it’s been 28 degrees for hours.”
Annie put on her gloves, “I hope the kumquats survive. That sweet-tart flavor loaded with vitamins A and C coupled with its high-fiber smooth skin, is delicious, and you can eat them right off the tree when they ripen.”
“I’m glad you like them, for being the smallest member of the citrus family, they sure pack a mouth-puckering punch. Personally, I like tangerines; their thin skin comes…