Strawberry farmers: Cold weather will affect SC economy

Jennifer Jordan is the farm manager at Cottle Strawberry Farm in Columbia.

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Jennifer Jordan is the farm manager at Cottle Strawberry Farm in Columbia. She's been working around the clock this month to keep the plants protected from the freezing temperatures.

"This is probably the absolute worst timing for the freeze to take place. Everyone one of these plants we have out here on the strawberry farm has flowers on it," said Jordan.

The only way she can protect the plants is by using row covers.

The covers are 500 feet long and help the plants keep their heat.

Jordan will cover ten acres of strawberries before the temperatures drop.

"We have a double whammy right now, we had winds up to 35 miles an hour for two days which has blown every row cover off this field," adds Jordan.

Last year, March brought warmer weather and no freezing temperatures were reported in Columbia.

That gave farmers a jump on the season's crops.

This year's colder weather is impacting farms across the state.

"There is at least one strawberry farm in every county, some counties have three and four, some are huge, some do wholesale, it will definitely impact the state's economy," adds Jordan.

Normally instead of row covers you'd see a field full of strawberries, but thanks to this month's below average temperatures time is running out.

"Once we reach 85 degrees the plant will start a new cycle and stop producing strawberries. They're always going to quit making strawberries, so we never get those days back," said Jordan.

.Jordan planned on opening the farm 15 days ago, but that hasn't happened.

"It's going to end the same time every time, so the earlier we can open the better," said Jordan.

Predictions of the mid to upper 60's on Saturday has the farm preparing for opening day and another successful season.