Marvin Horne had been praying for what drought-struck central California’s famous farmlands need little of — a good dry spell.
His acres of raisin vines require two weeks of uninterrupted scorching sun to shrivel the grapes here in this gentle valley of sleepy fruit groves and yawning blue skies.
Unfortunately, an unseasonal inch and a half of rain earlier in the week has partially rehydrated his crop, laid out to dry on reams of paper running the length of the vines.
As raisin grapes produce only a single crop per season, Horne could lose a hefty slice of his harvest. But, like all raisin growers in the United States, he is used to having part of his crop taken from him.