Fraser Valley farmers are watching anxiously as an unseasonable late February cold snap rolls in.
“I look at it at least five times a day, that’s how worried I am on this,” says University of the Fraser Valley farming expert Tom Baumann.
He’s referring to the weather forecast, and he says his colleagues in the industry are doing the same.
The big fear? Berry crops, which have been dormant and protected from icy weather all winter, are beginning to stir after weeks of warmer weather.
“Today again the sun was out, and the plants are moving, right away,” he says. “They’ve had their cold period that they need to flower again. And as soon as it gets warm, anything over 10 degrees they’ll start growing rapidly. And any time after that we’re worried about frost.”
Some of that is on the way this weekend, but he says since plants are still semi-dormant they should be able to ride out this weekend’s forecast temperatures down to minus three degrees.
“If we had minus four, minus five right now, and strawberries and cranberries are now with no snow cover anymore, I would have concerns,” Baumann says.
He says they’ve noticed a little bit of damage to some blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries, but nothing that would cause panic.
But he says while they expect to make it through this weekend in good shape, winter isn’t over for another month yet, and another cold snap could be very costly.