Some crops blooming early, farmers concerned about cold snap

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DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. -- Some Piedmont farmers and local restaurants that buy from those farmers are concerned about the mild winter so far, saying a freeze could put crops in jeopardy.

Van Parker, who grows tomatoes and strawberries, said the warmth has caused his strawberry plants to bloom already. But he said it's too early.

"It gets too warm on them. It's not good for them this early," Parker said.

In fact, Parker said he already knows some of the strawberries aren't going to make it. But it could get a lot worse if a cold snap barges in.

"It'll kill the bloom, and that's one strawberry you're not going to have every time," Parker said.

Over at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market, a few farmers said this is among the warmest winters they've had. But they said winter isn't over yet.

"We're gonna have some. Usually two more weeks we're gonna have some," said Irene Treece, a farmer in Norman.

And that could affect what dishes local restaurants like Lucky 32 in Greensboro can make for their customers. The restaurant depends on local produce year-round.

"We've noticed wintery produce is disappearing sooner because of the weather. Kale is not as pretty as it was. You're not getting those crisp collard greens," said Jay Pierce, executive chef.

Normally rhubarb and dandelions are available in April, but Pierce said the farmers can't say when they'll be available this year.

The peach crop could also be affected by a late cold snap. Peaches are mainly picked in the Piedmont around the end of May.

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