LAKE COUNTY, Fla - As we prepare for frigid temperatures to bring one of the coldest Christmas holidays Central Florida has seen in three decades, farmers are now preparing to protect their crops.
On Friday morning we visited with Harry Stauderman at Oak Haven Farms in Sorrento, where we found strawberries at all different stages of growth. Stauderman explained, "The younger they are, the more vulnerable they are. So we have to be very careful. The blossoms can damage right at 30 degrees."
Which is why he says the best way to protect the berries from the cold is to run the watering system designed for this.
"There’s heat in the water. Water comes out of the sprinklers about 72 degrees and as it cools or freezes it has to release that heat and it releases that heat to whatever it’s in contact with which would be the strawberry plant or the flowers or the berries," Stauderman adds.
Coming with this "once in a generation" winter storm are freeze warnings and watches being issued across most of Florida as temperatures are expected to drop into the 20s and 30s. As we wait for the bitterly cold temperatures to set in, Stauderman is confident everything will work out.
Stauderman said, "I think we’ll get through it just fine and we will pick these red ripe strawberries as soon as the ice that will form melts off."