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Cold Snap Frightens Fruit Farmers

Posted Updated
Pratt Gallimore
WIND BLOW, NC — North Carolina fruit growers areexperiencingsome stress as a warm winter and early spring harbor the potential fordevastated peach, strawberry and apple crops.

Orchards are blooming early, which makes them vulnerable to latefreezes, and Sunday night, a thin coat of frost covered one peach orchardin Montgomery County when temperatures dropped to 29 degrees. Farmer PrattGallimore says he no longer loses much sleep over such situations.

Peaches used to be Gallimore's main crop, but now he says he just keepsthe orchard going for the sake of tradition. Calling peach-growingundependable, Gallimore says his main crop now is tobacco.

Last year was one of the bad years, according to Gallimore. Killer frostswiped out nearly every orchard in the state. But, if frosts stay away thisspring, it could mean one of the few bumper crops Gallimore's seen sincehis father ran the farm. He says if there's one thing he's learned overthe years, it's to keep his expectations low.

Apple-growers in the western part of the state say the buds on their treeshaven't developed enough yet for recent cold snaps to have done anydamage.

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