By David Madden
NEW JERSEY (CBS) – The last few nights have been pretty cold in these parts, cold enough to give some South Jersey farmers a bit of concern.
I know what you’re thinking. Compared to this past winter, this is nothing. Don’t tell that to strawberry farmers.
Gary Pavlis, with the Rutgers Agricultural Extension Service in Atlantic County says, “Strawberries that were in bloom — of course, the blooms really got damaged, unless the growers were protecting them with roll covers and/or overhead sprinklers.”
That could put a temporary crimp in supply which will recover as we get further into spring and summer. Other fruits like blueberries, peaches and grapes should be fine.
In fact, the long winter should push harvests back a week or two, which could put the New Jersey blueberry crop in competition with Michigan.
“Blueberries in New Jersey — we have a marketing window in between the southern states and Michigan. And if we’re later, we’ll start stacking up on top of Michigan.” But, the freeze down south could balance that out, at least for local farmers.
And look for the grape yield to be lower overall this year, again, thanks to that harsh winter.