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Southwest Virginia farmers say cold weather was good and bad

By Callan Gray, cgray@wcyb.com
Published On: Feb 01 2014 06:02:36 PM CST
Soutwest Virginia farmers say cold was good and bad
ABINGDON, Va. -

The warm weather had Southwest Virginia farmers smiling on Saturday at the Abingdon Farmer's Market. It's been a long week for the farmers.

"We were at eight below and we were at two below just this past week and three above," said farmer Barbara Kling.

A couple booths down, David King couldn't agree more.

"This is the first time ever in the 18 years we've lived here that it's been this cold," said King.

Although King tells me "it's part of farming," the cold weather isn't something he looked forward to.

"Mentally, I tried to prepare," he said laughing.

King is produce farmer who specializes in salad greens.

He told us some of the hearty greens can survive unprotected when temperatures dip into the teens and others can survive covered, in single digit weather.

This week, he said, it was just too cold.

"This killed most of what's outside," said King.

He told us he used covers and extra heaters inside his greenhouse to save what he could.

"We don't normally use those but when it gets into single digits it's time to get them out," said King.

King sold a table full of greens on Saturday but he said he still expects his pocketbook to take a hit over the next few months.

It will "effect us short term, in terms of our income next spring," said King.

The cold wasn't bad for all crops. Barbara Kling tells me her garlic thrived.

"We were really happy to have snow on it because it's like a blanket for it," she said.

Kling told us the snow acts like an insulator for the crop.

Cattle farmers also told us the snow and frigid temperatures have been good for their herds.

"The grounds been frozen," said Dwayne McIntyre, "There's not been a lot of mud. The cows have been doing really good."                

McIntyre told us muddy pastures can cause the cattle to become ill more frequently. He said their only challenge has been keeping the water troughs from freezing.

This is the first year the Abingdon Farmer's Market has held their "Winter Market" twice a month. Vendors will be at the market on the first and third Saturday of every month.