Local growers cope with the cold
As growers across the state continue to deal with one of the worst cold snaps in years, Ponchatoula farmer Eric Morrow said it’s the longest cold snap he’s endured since staring raising strawberries 17 years ago.
“Back in 2008 it snowed. It didn’t last too long. Nothing near as bone-chilling as this,” Morrow said.
With lows in the teens, even frost protection through sprinkler method is no match under these extreme temperatures. Even the 180,000 plants have to be covered.
“Probably the longest I have ever covered. We have been covered, going on our 4th week right now,” Morrow said.
It’s a labor of love having to cover this crop stretching a little more than 10-acres and it takes about 5 hours.
“The covers keep our plants dry. They keep some of this heat were collecting today. You see the radiant heats were hitting the sunlight hitting on this plastic. We’re gathering some heat there, to really warm the plants up for tonight,” Morrow explains.
All his efforts paid off helping save some of these tender plants through this harsh winter blast.
“We still got a few blooms that made it . I can’t believe some of them would make it at 15 degrees,” he said.
“This cover is new and it held up really good for us! There is actually a few that made it!”
Not all the berries were so lucky and with the flower part of the plant damaged Eric estimates it will take about 5 weeks for normal production to resume.
“Like any farming, it’s just hard. It’s the weather. There’s nothing that you could do. Just do your best and drive on,” Morrow said.