WUFT News

Ice Protects North Central Florida Strawberries from Colder Temperatures

By on January 8th, 2014

Earlier this week a cold snap of record-breaking temperatures in the 20s made its way across North Central Florida. While some resorted to wearing layers of clothes to keep warm, farmers resorted to layering ice to keep their plants warm.

In a preventative practice, ice can be used to keep fruit from being damaged due to natural freezes. In Bradford County, agricultural agent for University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Jim DeValerio, said this technique of adding warm water to the frozen strawberries is used to prevent damage on the region’s crop.

The warm ice on the strawberry plants keeps the fruit warmer than the colder outside air. With cold air continuing throughout this week, DeValerio fears the fruit may get waterlogged and become ruined.

“The downside of that is if it’s an extended period of time, you are going to start to degrade the fruit,” DeValerio said.

Tens of thousands of strawberries were affected this week by low temperatures. The effects of this freeze will likely not be felt until the end of the strawberry bud’s blooming cycle.

“I think it’s a potentially high revenue loss because it’s gonna set them back to two to three weeks if they were not successful in protecting those blooms and the fruit,” DeValerio said.

1537690179_607553cae3_m

Beatrice Murch/Flickr

The berries may not be the only produce affected by the freeze. Cabbage and broccoli are sensitive to the cold, as well. DeValerio spoke with a local farmer who also had a loss on his farm with mixed vegetables.

The strawberries affected by this week’s freeze are beginning to thaw. The full extent of the damage to this crop will be known by the end of this week. But DeValerio still fears for the future.

“Nobody can predict how many freezes we’re gonna get in the next couple months,” he said.


This entry was posted in Environment, Weather and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Environment

Citrus Greening

Saving Florida Orange Juice: The Search For A Cure For Citrus Greening – The Greening Series, Part 3

Nutrient supplements, root stock additives, genetic modification, heat therapies and a bacterial killer are just a few of the proposed solutions to what has been called the worst disease in history to hit Florida orange groves. Citrus greening, a bacterial [...]


Citrus  Greening

How A Fourth Generation Citrus Farmer Fights To Save His Grove – The Greening Series, Part 2

Steve Futch, UF IFAS Extension agent, and family farmer, Mac Turner, right, tour the new orange tree plantings on Turner’s family farm in Arcadia, Fla. in April 2014. (Heather van Blokland/WUFT) Citrus farmer Mac Turner is fighting to keep his [...]


The Orange Bird is a cartoon character mascot created in 1970 by Disney for the Florida Citrus Commission.   A likeness of the famous icon now hangs in the hallway of Florida Citrus Mutual CEO Mike Sparks.

Why The Orange Is So Important to Florida – The Greening Series, Part 1

In our first of a three-part series on citrus greening, WUFT’s Heather van Blokland takes us through a bit of history on Florida’s connection to the orange


VIDEO: Horse Protection Association Of Florida

Because of flooding on 150 acres of Micanopy land, the Horse Protection Association of Florida is in need of dry land for its rescues. A suitable area was found for 23 of the horses, but HPAF’s Morgan Silver worries about organizing the funds to continue paying rent.


Horse

Small-Scale Horse Operations Guide to Protect Florida Water

The Florida Department of Education released a manual for small-scale horse operation best management practices in order to help preserve the state’s water resources.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments