Bay Area Farmers Divided on Cold Weather

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Wente Vineyards during warmer days.

    The drop in temperatures has lead to freeze warnings around the Bay Area and that's especially concerning for farmers.

    In the Livermore Valley the cold weather was both a blessing and a curse. The unusual sight of snow covered hills stared down at Charles Crohare's olive orchard Monday morning.
      
    After 77 years in the Livermore Valley, the weather was cold enough to surprise even him. 

    Although the Crohares picked their own olives weeks ago, their presses were busy grinding oil for growers who weren't quite as quick.

    "Cold is very damaging for olives, especially frost," he said.

    Crohare, whose family founded the Olivina Olive Oil business 128 years ago, says any weather cold enough to deliver snow can quickly ruin olives left on the tree. 

    "Mother nature can be very cruel," he said. "She can be very nice lady and she can be very cruel. And we got a little cruel last night."

    But just down the road from the Crohares the chilly temperatures got a warm welcome.

    "Actually for grape vines it's perfect because we want to get enough cool weather, some freeze below 30, 32," fifth generation wine maker Karl Wente of Wente Vineyards said.

    He says the cold air and white dusted hills make vines go dormant and in the wine business that's a good thing.

    "As long as the grapes are in, which they have been for three weeks, it's really good news to have some cold weather," he said.

    Cattle ranchers also say the cold isn't affecting their herds but like everyone else here, they're watching to see what other surprises Mother Nature has in store.