Upstate farmers concerned about late freeze effects on crops

TRAVELERS REST, S.C. (WSPA) – Spring is officially here and that means it’s almost strawberry and peach season in the Carolinas.

The late dose of winter last week is having a big impact on those crops.

Some strawberries at Beechwood Farms in Travelers Rest are already starting to bloom because of the warm winter. The roller coaster temperatures in the Upstate this winter created quite the challenge.

Employees have been working around the clock to try to save the delicate berries.

Owner Billy Ledford told 7News some of them have already died because of the late freezes.

“The strawberry is very tender and will not endure without good protective effort,” Ledford said.

That protective effort included employees working all night to cover the crops and keep sprinklers on to reduce the effects of the freeze.

“Anywhere around 32 degrees, we need that cover on so we have to go back through. The cloths are heavy and it takes a good bit of energy, but we don’t have any choice. We have to put it back on,” said Ledford.

Ledford told 7News that thanks to great weather forecasting and the relentless work from his employees, the farm’s strawberries are looking pretty good for spring. He estimates they only lost about five percent of the strawberry crop due to the weather.

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