Cold weather could spell doom for crops in Loudoun, but according to farmers, there’s no reason to panic just yet.
Although the unseasonably warm weather of late February could accelerate certain crops, its still early enough that the cold weather won’t seriously harm fruits growing in the county, Tyler Wegmeyer, a strawberry farmer in Loudoun, said.
“The abnormally warm weather has jumpstarted the crops so we’re getting regular weather now but the crops are ahead of schedule,” Wegmeyer said. “I’m concerned but it’s not the worst yet. If it were a couple weeks from now, then I’d be worried.”
In a couple weeks, his plants will flower, Wegmeyer said. Each flower is a strawberry, so that’s when the cold weather could do much more damage.
Wegmeyer said he’s lucky now because he can put on tarps over his plants to keep them warmer, or even freeze the strawberry plants to preserve them.
For the county’s vineyards, the recent cold weather is less of a concern. Grape vines produce fruit later in the season so there is not as much risk now, winemaker Doug Fabbioli siad.
“This weather won’t do much damage now,” Fabbioli said. “This slows them down so it’s good for us now.”
Should Fabbioli need to protect the vines from frost, he also has tarps to cover the vines with and fans to remove cold air. He expects to bring these out next month.