South Georgia strawberries look good - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia strawberries look good

April 18, 2007

Albany--  South Georgia strawberry farmers say the Spring and Summer favorite looks good. After the Easter weekend freeze, the state Agriculture Department reported that most of the state's crop was damaged or destroyed. However, farmers here say the crop is sweet and abundant.

Strawberry farmer Scott Vann picks through the crop he's spent several months preparing. "We set them out in October and take care of them through the Winter," said Vann.

But that winter weather, some even freezing, lasted into April.

"This has been strange weather," said Vann. Farmers were afraid the freeze wouldn't leave many strawberries.

"I just crossed my fingers," said Vann. Crossing his fingers worked. The field is bare, not from being damaged by the cold, but from being picked.

"Been pretty busy. We just got through picking the field," said Vann. Vann sprayed his strawberries with water as a means of protection. That along with somewhat warmer temperatures saved them.

"We were real lucky. We were real lucky," said Vann. Luckily farmers across the state fared better than the Georgia Department of Agriculture originally thought. They first reported 90 percent of the strawberry crop was damaged but some farmers quickly said that wasn't so.

"We have plenty of strawberries for everybody," said Vann. So if South Georgia strawberry lovers were worried, Vann says don't be.

"The consumer doesn't really worry. The farmers do all the worrying," said Vann. The freeze scare is over, now replaced with a sweet Spring and Summer.

Vann also says his peaches, cantaloupe and squash survived the late freeze. The USDA is assessing damage to see if Georgia farmers might qualify for federal assistance from damaged or destroyed crops.

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