FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- A hard freeze, temperatures 30 or below, are expected in Northeast Indiana this coming Wednesday. Preparation is underway for local farmers who're concerned for their crops.
Joseph Hilger and his family are taking turns irrigating their farm’s strawberry fields, “8-10 hours every night,” he said.
The 71-year-old has been living and farming in Indiana his whole life, but “we’ve never had snow on top of them. We’ve had cold weather we’ve had to deal with, we just irrigate the heck out of them and we get standing water,” Hilger said.
The bare strawberry blossom is the most at-risk crop at Hilger Family Farm.
“If we miss 10 minutes or 20 minutes of irrigation, like if we run out of fuel if we bust a pipe and we’ve had that happen already - we gotta get fixed in a hurry,” he said.
The elbow grease is needed to prepare for this week’s expected hard freeze, temperatures 30 degrees or below.
At Orchard Hill Farms, preparation is underway as well.
“In 50 years we never really had any problems until last year when the cold came in May,” Hertha Meyer said.
Meyer has owned the Kendallville farm since 1969.
“This is my garden of Eden on earth,” she said.
To keep the blossoms safe against the impending cold, “he’s putting the water on as a protective covering because they do that with strawberries too,” Meyer said.
Just down the road at their cherry orchard, the Meyers dispersed metal drums, filled them with wood and lit them on fire to raise the air temperature a few degrees.
“All you can do really is pray, and I do a lot of that,” she said.
Meyer is hopeful the weather will get warm and stay warm very soon.