Growers Prepare for Freeze
Strawberry and peach growers will be on alert tonight when temperatures are expected to drop below freezing at a critical time in fruit development.
Despite some nervous attention to the thermometer, growers were upbeat about crop prospects. The economy may be in recession, but they expect abundant crops of berries and peaches this year.
"There will be lots of strawberries this year," said Taylor Williams, an agricultural agent with the Moore County Center of the Cooperative Extension Service.
Williams said berry growers have learned well how to cope with late freezes and losses should be minimal, if at all. Two growers have joined the ranks of strawberry farmers in Moore County this year, bringing the total to seven.
"Strawberries are in good shape," said Williams, who visited all seven berry farms last week.
Berries will be a little late this year, but a limited number of early berries should be available for sale by late next week. Peak season comes in late April and early May, and the season continues into June.
Although temperatures were expected to drop below freezing again early Wednesday morning, Williams thinks both strawberry and peach crops will make it through successfully, provided, of course, that the low temperature does not linger around another few days. That is not expected, because the National Weather Service is predicting a warming trend to set in immediately after the frosty morning.
"I'm sort of loafing today, because I know I won't get much sleep the next two nights," said Frank Bryant, who raises strawberries on the family farm on Bryant Road off U.S. 15-501 east of Carthage.
For more on this story, see Wednesday's print edition of The Pilot.
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