Cold weather may have lasting impact for area farmers

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ROCKBRIDGE CO., Va. (WDBJ7) Recent cold temperatures have the potential to have long-lasting effects. Area farmers are anxiously waiting to see what happens to their crops.

Paul Estabrook says he's closely monitoring his Asian Pear trees to see if this will be another year without a yield.

"We just pray. That's all. What can you do? I used to imagine irrigate and put water underneath, but with winds like this, you can't keep the heat on the ground orchard," Estabrook said.

Estabrook's only had two years -- out the 27 in business -- without a good crop. This is shaping up to be his third.

"It's all over. It's that simple. We either have fruit or we don't," Estabrook said.

At this Rockbridge County vineyard they have another concern. They say it's been enough warm enough for sap to start flowing in their plants but once that freezes it could actually split the trunk. That would not only ruined this year's crop, it could affect their business for years to come.

"Any independent grower's going to have to factor in the cost of loss of production every five or seven years from frost or winter injury," Rockbridge Vineyard owner Shepherd Rouse.

About four and a half acres are at risk at Rockbridge Vineyard. But they'll keep pouring, they've got other grapes coming in later on the other 13 acres.

As for Estabrook, these trees are the majority of his business.And it'll be a couple more days before he knows their fate.

"Pretty ugly isn't it," Estabrook said.