Bay Area strawberry farmers worry Florence will damage plants grown in Carolinas

Even though the Bay Area is hundreds of miles from Hurricane Florence, farmers here still could feel her impact. Strawberry growers who buy young plants from the Carolinas then grow them here in eastern parts of Hillsborough County are worried their season could end before it even starts.

Nurseries in the mountains of western North Carolina typically provide about 45 percent of the plants purchased by local farmers, who are now watching the path of Florence very closely.

“Uncertainty of the path of the storm is a concern,” said Kenneth Parker, executive director of the Florida Strawberry Growers Association said. “If it stays mostly to the east, there will be relatively no impact to this industry. Time will tell.”

But if the storm goes west, nurserymen are concerned that they might lose plants.

“We’re taking it an hour at a time,” said Wayne Moss of Norton Creek Farms, which grows strawberries in three areas of North Carolina, including Cashiers.

The storm could also affect other items produced in the Carolinas such as turkey, ham, and pumpkins.