Farmers Cast Their Fate to the Cold Wind | NBC 6 South Florida

Farmers Cast Their Fate to the Cold Wind

Gusts have saved crops so far, but farmers say fields are still vulnerable



    It is all about the wind. That's what will save Homestead growers from a crippling freeze.

    The fragile plants took a cold snap last week, a serious drop in temperatures Monday night and now a second night of freezing or below conditions. Charles LaPradd, the county agricultural czar, stands by a planted field along Krome Avenue.

    The breeze whips around his jacket. LaPradd says the wind has been the savior, but, "we are certainly worried about tonight. It is going to be a little bit colder and the wind is supposed to die down. It could get serious if we get the 32 degree mark for any extended time."

    Bean and okra farmers are taking no chances.

    Web Weather-- 6:30 PM -- Dec. 14, 2010

    [MI] Web Weather-- 6:30 PM -- Dec. 14, 2010
    Web weather (Published Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010)

    They are picking their crops as soon as they are close to ripe. Jody Johnson from Five Brothers Produce says a box of pole beans is going for $36, which isn't bad, but the cost of producing those beans has skyrocketed due to the high labor costs of the picking crews that are working overtime, fuel for generators to spray water on the fields, and farm workers tending the crops every night of the cold snap.

    Packing houses are working a fever pitch, boxing the beans and okra and getting the product into coolers ready for shipping. What's all this mean for the consumer?

    "Supply and demand," says LaPradd. A hard freeze would impact prices of tomatoes, okra, beans, eggplant, and strawberries.

    The alternative for consumers will be products from Mexico, which Robert Morehling from Robert is Here fruit and vegetable stores says do not have the quality of the home grown product and will cost more.