As people bundle up for the cold, Alachua County farmers prepared crops for cooler weather.
Wednesday marked the first time this fall season that temperatures dropped below 50 degrees in Alachua County.
Cody Galligan, a farmer with Siembra Farms, told WUFT News low temperatures can damage kale, lettuce and yuca. Damaged crops can lead to less fruits and vegetables to harvest. It can also cause longer working hours for farmers. Galligan said If temperatures continue to be low and hinder plant growth, sales at farmers markets may take a hit.
“We could lose up to thousands, ten thousand dollars of crop in the field,” he said.
In an attempt to minimize this, farmers at Siembra Farms covered up plants with frost cloth.
The white fabric is designed to have frost settle on top of the sheet, rather than on the leaves of the plants they cover.However, Galligan said frost cloths don’t completely prevent damage.
He has harvested crops for more than two decades. This is the first time he’s had to cover plants at this time of year.
“We’ve never had a frost this early in Gainesville, and I’ve been farming for 14 years,” Galligan said. “So, it’s a little surprising to get a frost in the middle of October.”
Florida Public Radio Emergency Network meteorologist Megan Borowski said temperatures early Thursday will be as low as the mid thirties.
“We’ll likely have frost over rural portions of Alachua County,” Borowski said.
Borowski mentioned temperatures are expected to rise to the 50 by Sunday.