Strawberry farmers will stay up through Monday morning to try to protect their sweet cash crop from freeze damage.
"It's gonna be our first freeze," said strawberry farmer Matt Parke. "So everybody is gonna be on their toes."
Parke said he plans to turn on Parkesdale Farm's irrigation system as soon as the temperature hits 32-degrees Monday morning. The sprinklers should help form a protective layer of ice on the plants.
"It's a stressful feeling to know if there is an issue in our field, we could potentially lose our crop," said Parke.
Parke said it's the first time he's had to worry about freezing temperatures damaging the crop so far this season.
"It's been a weird, weird winter," said Parke.
Warm winter weather has caused the plants to produce nearly double the amount of strawberries they normally would this time of year.
"We're actually picking our spring numbers in the winter," said Parke.
Parke said if all goes well during Monday morning's predicted freeze, you could notice a difference next time you bite into a locally grown strawberry. The cold should weather should slow down the plants' natural fruit production and give the berries time to get sweeter, he said.
200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606
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