Cold start to spring can’t bring down strawberry crops on local farms

ALDERSON, WV (WVNS) — Sunset Berry Farm is the host of Alderson’s annual Strawberry Festival.

They are also no strangers to harsh weather and doing everything in their power to see their berry plants through frost or snow or wind.

The first day of spring came in hard this year, but owner Kent Gilkerson said that they’ve had much worse.

“Actually in 2020, everything went wrong that year, I guess. We had a really hard freeze close to Mother’s Day and it killed almost every strawberry that we had. The whole field was completely covered in frost blankets, but they give you about six degrees protection and I think that year we got down to nine or ten degrees, I believe it was and it just fried everything we had,” said Gilkerson.

Gilkerson was worried when the weather began calling for freezing temperatures and snow showers and went out to check on his fields.

He said that whether or not you lose your crop is almost entirely dependent on the blooms your plants have at the time.

“It depends on what stage the bloom is in as to what how cold a temperature it can take. Like a full bloom, it’s 32 degrees it’ll most likely kill the blossom. If they’re what they call a popcorn stage, which is like balled up, getting ready to open up, you can get down to about 27 degrees, something like that before it kills’em,” said Gilkerson.

Luckily, none of Gilkerson’s plants had any blooms on them, so he was fortunate not to lose any of his plants.

He did however, have a peach tree bloom too early this year, and he’s not optimistic that it’ll produce anything when summer comes.

Gilkerson said he isn’t worried though, he’s got well over one hundred more trees to pick up the slack.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to WVNS.