Unusually cold January has berry growers on alert

By Jason Lanning , Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, January 19, 2018, 7:28 AM EST

This week marked a fifth freeze in recent weeks for berry growers across the Bay area. 

The unusually cold January has had growers out in force to keep an eye on their crops.  

Normally, a mild freeze doe not impact the berries and actually can make the berries a little healthier. 

But, according to growers at Plant City's Parkesdale Farms, after the freezes a couple weeks ago, the strawberry plants started showing some signs of stress. 

That basically means they are struggling to stay healthy.

And this week farmers are getting a one-two punch with back to back freezes. Temperatures Friday morning dipped to 32 degrees overnight in Plant City. 

On Thursday, growers said they experienced the worst freeze in several years. 

"When you get chill hours it totally shuts your plant off it goes into a dormant stage," said Matt Parke, with Parkesdale Farms. "Going in to two weeks so our plants were starting to push a lot of new flower to start coming out.  It should have been a lot stronger than it was, but we do have a lot of flower out.  

"But what it did was all the other flower that was on it stopped, sat inside the crown because the plant shut down."

But there is good news: 

Since the freezes have not caused any damage, those flowers, will still come (although a little late) and that means a potentially very big harvest toward the end of January and early Februrary.