GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- When afternoon highs were in the 70s and 80s last week, strawberry grower Dean Ingram knew the early taste of spring was too good to last.
"This is sort of a rite of spring. We know it’s coming. Not sure we ever had a year we didn’t have to water at all,” Ingram said.
When Ingram talks about water, he's talking about using it to protect his 80,000 plants from the cold. When ice forms, it releases heat, keeping the early strawberry blooms warm. So as the temperature drops tonight, Ingram will be up late, making sure an icy blanket covers his crop.
"Once we get it going you don’t leave it because anything could go wrong. The tractor could break down. Fuel runs out. So we stay up with it.”
Growers like Ingram will put in the long hours on a cold night so that you can enjoy the fruits of their labor on a warm spring day.
"Strawberries are usually the first fruit of the year; people like to get out and enjoy the spring weather.”