Inconsistent weather could take toll on crops

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – There’s saying in North Carolina: “If you don’t like the weather today, just wait until tomorrow.”

Unfortunately, that saying does not apply to crops.

With temperatures rising in February and taking a dive in March, the wacky weather is taking a toll and farmers and potentially their wallets.

Longtime farmer Andy McLawhorn is concerned for his blueberry crop.

“We have a whole lot of repeat customers who have been coming every year and picking blueberries, and they’ll just have to go somewhere else,” said Andy McLawhorn, who owns Renston Garden Market in Winterville.

It’s almost time to pick at the market, but Mother Nature may have something else in store.

“I got a couple acres of blueberries here,” said McLawhorn. “…My fruit is in critical danger if it gets down to 25 degrees.”

A freeze is in the forecast, which is something McLawhorn, knows all too well

“I thought I was going to have a big peach crop,” McLawhorn said. “We had a big heavy frost, and the fruit actually had formed, and it just fell off the tree. So with the blueberries — I’ve never lost a blueberry crop — probably the same thing may happen.”

If it does happen, the market’s pick-your-own may be pick-no-more.

Plants don’t like the varied temperatures either

“Hot, cold, hot, cold — we’re trying to get them ready for spring, but spring is not quite here yet,” said Gayle Wainright, who owns Little’s Nursery in Greenville.

Wainright has had to move plants in and out of controlled temperatures to keep up with the changing weather.

Back at the farm, McLawhorn is preparing for the worst and hoping for the best

“You do what you can,” said McLawhorn. “What can I do about it?”

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