Strawberry farmers prep for freeze
PONCHATOULA - Strawberry farmers are bracing for Wednesday night's forecasted cold snap.
Wednesday morning at Fletcher Farm in Ponchatoula, workers picked the few strawberries ready for harvest. Farm owner William Fletcher says, "What we're doing right now is going in ahead of the cold weather and trying to get what we can off before Jack Frost picks them all. He's the fastest picker around."
After the picking was finished, crews worked to cover their strawberries with large pieces of cloth to protect them from the cold weather moving in. Farmers said if temperatures get too cold and stay there for too long, they could be facing a total loss of their crops.
Lows are forecast to be around 20 degrees in southern Louisiana and stay in the 20s for the next two or three days, with the potential for freezing rain later in the week. Fletcher says, "We loose berries every year because of cold. I will tell you this is one of the best january crops i've seen in years. They're beautiful, the fruit is clean, the plants are very healthy. If we bring these to market it will represent a fair enough portion of my income, I really don't want to lose this."
According to local farmers, if Louisiana loses its strawberry crop, then consumers can expect to pay higher prices at the store.