Growers recover after cold snap
Temperatures plunged into the 20s over the weekend, and the wind chill made it feel more like the teens.
That was the coldest it’s been all winter and prompted Alachua and surrounding counties to be placed under a freeze watch.
Local farms and plant nurseries are still working to clean up the damage from the widespread freeze.
Crops like tomatoes, bananas and broccolini were either damaged or lost completely.
Many of these farms supply local food pantries and farmers markets.
The high wind speeds over the weekend blew off the frost cloth that was put in place to protect the plants.
The frost cloth cover only keeps crops a few degrees warmer.
Farmers are forced to start over and pick up the pieces of what’s left behind. The hard freeze isn’t the only weather factor to blame.
The National Weather Service issued an El Niño climate advisory at the beginning of October. Typically an El Niño climate pattern leads to a colder than normal winter.
No doubt, farmers like Noah Long are feeling the effects.
Long works at the Field & Fork Farm on the University of Florida campus, where fresh produce is grown for the campus’ Field & Fork Food Pantry.
He said that the overall lack of sunshine this winter season and colder temperatures have cut his supply down.
Farmers and growers alike haven’t lost hope. They plan to continue to develop new and more innovative ways to prevent the loss of plants and produce.