Winter Snap Affected Summer Crops

By  | 

The Easter Bunny wasn't counting on winter weather earlier this month and neither were a couple of local businessmen.

James Wiggins is one of the partners at Wiggins Wholesale, Incorporated.

He said winter temperatures damaged over 80 acres of watermelon crops that had already been planted.

"We had to go back and remove the plants and replant 88 acres," Wiggins said.

Wiggins said the company was fortunate because they learned colder temperatures were on their way and were able to hold off planting any more.

Even though damage to more crops was prevented, delaying scheduled planting and having to replant has pushed back production time.

"Rather than June fifth to the tenth, we'll be between the tenth and fifteenth or around the fifteenth of June," Wiggins said.

Paul Bonarrigo, co-owner of Messina Hof Winery and Resort, said the nature of grapes allowed his local vineyard to survive winter's late visit.

"A vineyard can stand about 29 degrees, Bonarrigo said. "At 29 degrees we start having a problem so we weren't really that close."

However, Messina Hof's other vineyards in the High Plains area got colder than the Brazos Valley. Bonarrigo said it is possible not just his, but other wineries as well may have lost close to 50 percent of their crops in that area.

Any loss in both grape and watermelon crops, means a change in price for customers at the store.

"Overall I think you're gonna see a firmness in wine prices, not necessarily a spike in increase but I think a stabilization," Bonarrigo said.

"I think the public can expect a little more increase in the price this year than what they've seen in the past," Wiggins said.

Both men say despite some setbacks, they anticipate their operations to be able to produce enough product to supply their customers.