Local farmers hope cold will help summer fruit

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Rick Langhorne has been growing blueberries and other fruits in Guilford County since the early 1980s. He can't recall a warm December like the one we just had. And he can't recall so many blueberries blooming in winter.

Langhorne says the record-breaking warmth of December caused his southern highbush blueberries to bloom and set fruit. He likes to grow the berries because highbush berries satisfy the early demand for blueberries.

"These are important because these get ripe right when it’s not so hot. People like to come out on a cool June day. When it get’s hot in July, it’s not as much fun,” Langhorne said.

Without the fruit, Langhorne will rely on rabbiteye blueberries.

"Should have a really good crop on these this year. They are ahead of schedule. Blooms are swollen but not enough where a 20 degree night is going to hurt them.”

And that's a good thing. Rabbiteye blueberries are the ones we normally pick around the Fourth of July.

So as snow flurries peppered the Guilford County farm on Monday afternoon, Langhorne said winter's return is a positive sign for our summer fruits.

"If the weather pattern returns to something we expect to have, everything on peaches will be fine; rabbiteye blueberries will be fine. Southern highbush blueberries are a question mark."