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Cold front hits east coast, disrupts farm life as farmers scramble to protect crops

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Strawberry farmers in Florida prepare their crops as unseasonably cool temperatures hit the east coast.
Strawberry farmers in Florida prepare their crops as unseasonably cool temperatures hit the east coast.

A cold front has gripped the U.S. east coast this past week and has affected farm life as strawberry farmers in Florida can attest. The frost has prompted some farmers to switch up their farming practices in an effort to save money and maintain their crop yields.

Strawberry farmers assert that the cold does not necessarily hurt all of their strawberry plants, but only the ruby red, ripe ones. It is important to pick them before the cold hits, according to Frank Oakes, the owner of Oakes Organic Farm and the Food & Thought market and cafe in Naples, Florida.

On Oakes's farm, he has about 26,000 strawberry plants on roughly an acre of land. When the frost hits, Oakes uses his irrigation system to wash the frost off them, and affirms that nature takes care of the rest: "When the sun can shine on a berry with frost, it'll nuke it." Because of the frost, Oakes predicts that there will be a temporary price rise as the market adjusts to the supply shortage that could result from the weather.

The cold front is expected to last into next week so farmers are preparing their fields for the potential blast. However, by the end of next week, weather forecasters expect temperatures to be back in the 70s, still a little below normal according to farmers, but an improvement from the freezing temperatures. 

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