Vegetable Farmers Keep Eye on Thermometer

Frozen vegetables on tap?
TAMPA (2012-1-3) -

Farmers throughout the state are weathering the season's first deep freeze. Growers are fearful that the low temperatures could damage some of the nation's winter vegetable crop.

Freezing temperatures as low as the twenties are expected to reach far south overnight, into the state's winter vegetable belt near the Everglades. That could spell trouble for vegetables with thin skins, including tomatoes and peppers.

Lisa Lochridge of the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association says farmers are doing everything they can to protect their crop.

"Certainly, the more tender-skinned vegetables are more prone to cold damage. So producers of tender vegetables like snap beans and squash and peppers are certainly going to be keeping their eyes on the mercury tonight."

There's also an upside a little frigid weather. Crops such as oranges and strawberries benefit from short bursts of cold, which sweetens the fruit.

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