Fast winds, cold weather could delay harvest of local farmers

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News 12 at 11 o'clock / Monday, March 25, 2013

Winter weather

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW) -- Clyde Gurosik has been farming since the 80s, but he says this year is the latest he's had to deal with cold temperatures.

"There's over 100,000 strawberry plants alone," Gurosik said.

When Gurosik bought 100 acres off Briggs Road, there were no strawberries.

"The farm, it was all forest," Gurosik said.

Now, it's filled with more than just fruit.

"Twelve acres of strawberries, then we have 3 acres of hybrid black berries. We also have a couple of acres of vegetables and flowers," Gurosik said.

The cold weather can be a concern, but more importantly, it's the high winds coming later Monday night that worry farmers like Gurosik. His workers put covers over the strawberries to take care of them overnight.

"Very cold intense winds come out of Canada and they sweep down across the United States and sweep into my farm. If those temperatures drop below freezing and you have wind, you can no longer protect with just water," Gurosik said.

And oddly enough, Gurosik can actually protect his strawberries from the cold by freezing them.

"We might be able to put water on top of the row covers and form some sort of an igloo. The water forms a big sheet of ice where it would keep the plants even warmer," Gurosik said.

The row covers serve as the main protector and work like a blanket.

"The row covers are the primary protection against wind because it will shelter it, keep the plant a lot warmer under there, and in the event we have to use water, it's not dropping water directly on the plant," Gurosik said.

The last week of March is the latest Gurosik has ever had to put covers on his strawberries. He says last year the weather was the complete opposite.

"We were averaging between 80 and 86 degrees for our highs during the day," Gurosik said.

Gurosik added the harvest could be delayed weeks because of the wind and cold weather. He says that's not good because the Easter holiday is one of their busiest times of year.

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