Chilton County farmer prepares for potential cold weather

A Chilton County farmer is taking precautions to protect his crops from the cold.
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 10:01 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 13, 2023 at 10:14 PM CDT
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VERBENA, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama farmers are taking precautions now to protect their crops from the cold.

“If it gets cold enough, we’re going to be borderline. It’ll kill all the blooms and it’ll also freeze the strawberries,” said Scott Penton, co-owner of Sugar Hill U-Pick Farms in Chilton County.

Whenever the weather drips down around 32 degrees, Penton knows to cover his plants to protect them from the elements.

The farm has about 215,000 strawberry bushes. The fabric cover over them insulates the berries much like a comforter on a person’s bed.

Each one of these plants produces a quart to two quarts of strawberries a season. Each basket goes for around $12.

If the plants don’t survive the cold weather, Penton says it would impact the business.

“It wouldn’t be good,” he said. “It really hurts money-wise.”

Chilton County is perhaps best known for its peaches. Penton also has some peach trees. He says they are pivotal to the local economy.

“When we lose a peach crop, it really hurts the county,” he said.

Penton, like many farmers in the area, uses wind machines to keep frost off his trees.

“We’re not to worried about peaches this go-around. In two or three weeks, if it gets cold, that’s when we’ll be more concerned on the peaches,” Penton said.

Right now, his focus is on protecting his strawberry blooms so pickers can have a sweet spring.

Because the weather can be unpredictable, the farm is waiting to announce its opening date. It typically opens around mid-March or April. Details can be found of the farm’s Facebook page.

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