• 41°

Frost worries peach grower

By Ronnie Gallagher and Steve Huffman
Salisbury Post
Kevin Huffman looked at the thermometer at 7 a.m. Tuesday and saw 26 degrees.
His first thought was, “I hope we get through this.”
Huffman was thinking of his six acres and 1,000 peach trees on Goodman Lake Road. Hopefully, the cold weather would not bring a repeat of the last two years when he suffered through a killer frost.”Usually, we can stand it down to 28 degrees,” Huffman said. “When it gets down to 28 for around three-to-four hours, we’re on the borderline.
“I think we’re in pretty good shape.”A positive sign, Huffman said, was that the shucks haven’t split yet. The shucks were still around the peaches, which helps insulate them.
A sudden frost has hurt his peach crop for two consecutive years.
Last spring was probably the worst for Huffman and his wife, Ellen, since they set their first trees out in 1995.
“Last year, we lost everything,” Huffman recalled. “We didn’t have a peach anywhere. It got down to 20 degrees. I had never seen anything like that.”
In 2006, it was much of the same.”We picked 400 bushels and should’ve picked 4,000 bushels,” Huffman said.
He has insurance, but it only covers half of the crop.
So the next 20 days will be crucial.
“I think once we get past the 18th of April, we’re in the clear,” Huffman said.
Huffman grew up on a farm and wanted a peach orchard.
“I was always intrigued with peach orchards down east when we were going to the beach,” he said.
So he got into the peach business and sells the fruit from his home. But he has become just as much of a weatherman.
“I look at the 10- to 15-day forecast,” he said with a smile, adding he expects nights where frost comes in.
“This is nothing unusual,” he said. “It’s something we have to deal with every year.”
At Patterson Farms on Millbridge Road outside China Grove, Doug Patterson said the temperature dropped to 22 degrees early Tuesday.
But he and fellow workers began irrigating their 30 acres of strawberries about 11 p.m. Monday and kept throwing water to the plants until almost 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Patterson said the water freezes around the plants and protects the buds at 32 degrees or higher.
The practice worked to perfection Tuesday, Patterson said, keeping the farm from losing any plants.
“I think we’re fine,” Patterson said late Tuesday afternoon. “I don’t see any problems.”He said farm workers have been raising tomatoes in a greenhouse and the plants will be transplanted outdoors between April 15 and 20.
“As soon as the weather breaks, we’ll start planting,” Patterson said.

Comments

Comments closed.

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash

News

Two NC counties get to participate in satellite internet pilot for students

Local

PETA protesters gather in front of police department

Coronavirus

Seven new COVID-19 deaths, 166 positives reported in county this week

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Two charged after suitcase of marijuana found in Jeep

Crime

Thomasville officer hospitalized after chase that started in Rowan County

Local

Board of elections discusses upgrading voting machines, making precinct changes

News

Lawmakers finalize how state will spend COVID-19 funds

Local

Salisbury Station one of several ‘hot spots’ included in NCDOT rail safety study

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, school considering options

News

Iredell County votes to move Confederate memorial to cemetery

Nation/World

Lara Trump may have eyes on running for a Senate seat

Local

Rowan among counties in Biden’s disaster declaration from November floods

Local

PETA plans protest at Salisbury Police Department on Friday

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, charter revoked

Coronavirus

29 new positives, no new COVID-19 deaths reported

Crime

Blotter: Woman charged with drug crimes

News

Nesting no more: Eagles appear to have moved on from Duke’s Buck Station

Business

The Smoke Pit leaving downtown Salisbury for standalone building on Faith Road

Education

Shoutouts

High School

High school football: Hornets’ Gaither set the tone against West

Local

Salisbury to show off new fire station

Education

Livingstone College to host virtual Big Read events this month