Another nervous night for farmers; Tomatoes, peppers most at risk

Strawberries should fare OK

PALM CITY, Fla. -  It may be another long night for some farmers hoping the fruits and vegetables of their labor, are not ruined by the cold.

Dean Bruschi picks through some of the nearly 50-thousand strawberry plants he oversees at D&D Family Farms in Palm City.

"They look they're all pretty well blooming," he says hunched over a patch.

But a frigid forecast causes concern.

"Worried a little bit about my younger stuff, my tomatoes, my peppers that don't really take to cold as well," said Bruschi.

He's hoping for an end to the mercury rollercoaster.

"I kind of like it to sit around 75, get down to 60 at night and stay like that," said the farmer of nearly four decades.

Provided it doesn't get below 28 degrees for any significant amount of time, Bruschi says his strawberries should be OK.  Even if it does get that cold, the plants should be able to survive, because they're from cold weather places like Nova Scotia and Michigan.

Like with most citrus, a quick cold burst can actually help the strawberry.

"Makes them form the sugar enzyme and raises the sugar content of the strawberries," said Bruschi.

To prevent another crop loss like a few years ago, Bruschi installed irrigation pipes down every field.

He needs all the strawberries he can get because they'll be needed in abundance for this weekend's annual strawberry festival at the farm off Citrus Boulevard.

The Indian River Citrus League and some citrus growers in Indian River County said they're not too concerned about what overnight temperatures will bring.

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