AUSTIN, Texas — Farmers are bracing for yet another cold snap in our area, and they were busy trying to protect their tender produce from near freezing temperatures.
Carol Ann Sayle co-owns Boggy Creek Farm in East Austin. She pushed her luck the last time cold temperatures reached the area by not covering up her crops.
“We don’t need to go to Las Vegas because everything we do is a gamble,” said Sayle, who’s been doing business in Austin since 1991.
Fortunately for Boggy Creek Farms, they did not lose crops, but temperatures were so cold it affected Central Texans going to their farmer’s market.
“Everybody is freezing,” Sayle said. “The money didn’t come in that week; half of the money that would normally come in did not come in.”
Sayle vividly recalled the farm getting hit hard in 2011. A deep freeze nearly destroyed everything.
“You can get down on that because you got to make enough money to pay your help and pay for the expenses,” Sayle said. “If suddenly no fault to your own a big giant freeze that lasts for days just wipes it all out, that’s heart breaking. We try to live a frugal life in a way that we save our money when the time is good.”
Ahead of this incoming cold front, she and farmers across Central Texas did their best to shield and keep their crops as insulated as possible. Farmers put down tarps to stores heat and water. They’ll also be running their irrigation systems and making sure the soil is moist.
Jake Milliner is the farm manager for Joe’s Microgreens. He has specialty heating tools and is making sure the greenhouse is well sealed. This ensures that the leafy greens are kept at temperatures above the 50s.
He also spent Thursday covering up the crops in the field. Even frostbite can damage the vegetables, which makes them less visually appealing and less likely to sell.
“It’s fun, but it’s a difficult job,” Milliner said. “We put a lot of time and effort into things and you know a couple months work can be erased in a few hours.”
With plenty of unpredictability, the work farmers do has to be a labor of love.
“You never give up,” Sayle said. “It’s like any job, any work and anything you’re trying to do. If it’s worthwhile, you don’t give up.”
Farmers know there is always another season.
The way farmers protect their produce is similar to what anyone should do to protect their outdoor plants during weather. Watering and covering them ahead of time works best.
RELATED | 7 Day Forecast