NC blueberry farm crippled after April cold weather snap destroys crops


CEDAR GROVE, N.C. (WNCN) — Instead of a bountiful harvest, local farmers are feeling the ravaging effects of a cold weather blast that destroyed their crops.

Blueberries were lost  to the cold at the Whitted Bowers Farm in Orange County.

On a normal summer day, several families would be at the farm picking blueberries.

But Monday, no one was there.

“It’s painful,” said Cheri Whitted Bowers, a co-owner of Whitted Bowers Farm. “It’s really painful.”

She says the culprit was a late April temperature freeze.

“We had a really late frost,” she said. “Actually it was a freeze, it wasn’t even a frost, and it damaged all the berries, all the blossoms and it was so bad that even the foliage got damaged.”

For two months, June and July, families would come here and fill their baskets up with blueberries.

But this year, without blueberries, they are expecting to lose almost $21,000 in revenue.

“It’s a labor of love,” said Cheri. “It’s less than a teacher’s salary in North Carolina. It really is a labor of love. We do this because we want to bring healthy food to folks.”

To offset the loss in revenue, Cheri’s husband took on another  job, and she now works part-time.

She says the unpredictable weather really hurt the farming industry.

“It’s not just us. All the local farmers in the area got hit in some way, hard this year with some crazy weather patterns.”

Customers have called asking how to help, but Cheri says there’s not much you can do to stop Mother Nature.

“I’m not sure we could’ve done anything to prevent it,” she said. “Even if we had all the resources available to us.”

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