Cold weather threatens Upstate farmers’ crops

Berry Acres covers crop to protect them from the upcoming cold weather.

ANDERSON COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The cold weather we’re already starting to see could have a major impact on some farmers in the Upstate and Western North Carolina.

At Berry Acres in Anderson County, the owners have already moved up their opening day to the last weekend in March. That’s because of the warm weather we’ve been having that’s already caused them to harvest some of their strawberries. However, now the upcoming cold weather could hurt them during the season.

“No strawberries, no blueberries, no peaches,” said Angi Edelen of Berry Acres.

That’s the worst case scenario if the temperature gets cold enough the next few days.

“I called it a couple weeks ago,” said Brett Edelen, who owns Berry Acres. “I knew March was going to be colder than February.”

The temperature change means more work for farmers.

“Many sleepless nights because you’re praying,” Brett Edelen said.

He prays the blooming buds don’t freeze off the tree or plant.

Edelen and his wife Angi woke up early Friday morning and worked until early evening putting coers over the strawberries. The cover, which is about 10 degrees warmer underneath than the outside temperature, will stay on until the temperature rises. However, strawberries aren’t the only crop in trouble. The peach blooms came a couple weeks early because of the warm weather which also damaged some of the tree.

“So, they’re not flowering a hundred percent, and then this cold weather is coming in and knocking the rest out, so it’s a double whammy on peach trees,” Edelen said.

He says there could be a 70 percent loss on the peach tree if it gets cold enough.  They are also planning on using an irrigation system to keep the blueberries safe.

“It caps them and keeps them protected from the terribly cold weather,” Edelen said.

Angi Edelen says they had similar weather last year which didn’t allow them to have put out more strawberries once they sold out in their store. She says the good thing about this year is that because some strawberries are coming in early, they’ll be able to store some away if this freeze knocks some of the crop out.

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