LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Farmers at Huber’s Orchard and Winery in Indiana have a plan to combat freezing spring temperatures, but they almost never have to worry about frost this late in the season.
Twenty acres of strawberries are in bloom on their land as temperatures are set to plummet to the freezing mark Friday night. A sprinkler system will go to work, casing the plants in ice and protecting them from damage.
“The water runs all night or however long we need it,” Huber’s Farm manager A.J. Huber said. “The water freezes on the strawberry plant, on the bloom itself. But that temperature stays at a 32 [degrees] and it doesn’t allow it to dip down to damaging, critical temperatures.”
Huber said he and his staff expect grape vines and fruit trees to emerge from the freeze in good shape if they get some help from the wind.
“We just have to monitor the wind,” Huber said. “I know they’re calling for clear skies tonight [Friday] so that always allows us to cool down a little quicker. But hopefully the wind stays up a little bit and it rotates the air.”
Sixty miles southeast in Taylorsville, long tent-like structures have been erected to protect 900 newly planted tomato plants. The 10 acre farm belongs to Executive Chef Joshua Moore, and it is where he raises produce to serve at his restaurant, Volare.
“We spent the entire day yesterday [Thursday] putting wire hoops and agriculture fabric over the top,” Moore said. “So hopefully tonight that will protect everything.”
Moore said his early spring crops like broccoli and cabbage should not be impacted by the cold, but in 15 years of farming for his restaurant, he said he had never before had to fight to save his tomatoes.
“It has definitely been a challenge here,” Moore said. “I’m ready for 2020 to get a little on the brighter side. But between all the stress with the restaurant and then now the early tomato plants, on top of, it’s been a crazy year so far.”