PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- With freezing temperatures expected for early Tuesday morning, farmers in Southern Colorado are picking as many crops as possible.
“We’ve been picking like crazy all weekend,” says Kasey Hund, Di Tamaso Farms Manager in Pueblo County. Her farm has 400 acres of vegetables and they have a lot to pick with this year's harvest, being the most bountiful she has seen in a long time.
“This is one of the best harvests we’ve had in the last 15 years,” Hund said. Neighboring farm manager Carla Houghton with Mauro Farms and Bakery, agrees. “This year has been a blessing,” says Houghton. Her 350-acre farm has also been picking as many ready crops as possible, which is all they can do to prepare.
Since their farms have hundreds of acres of crops, they can't just put a tarp over them to protect the vegetables and fruit from the cold. Houghton says all they can do is hope the freeze doesn't wipe out what's left behind.
“It’s definitely pick and pray because, without God, I don’t know how anybody does this,” Houghton says. The crops that are expected to have the hardest time are chiles, tomatoes, watermelons, cantaloupes, cucumbers, and pickles.
Unfortunately, with Colorado's short harvest season before winter, Houghton says all it takes is one night of cold weather to completely ruin their crops.
“One bad night and you’re finished," Houghton said.
It's exactly what happened last year. Cold and rainy days before the end of summer kept the bees from pollinating. The issue impacted more than just southern Colorado.
“That was from here all the way to New Mexico," Houghton said. "They also had the same issue and the excessive rain the plants do not do well with excessive water.”
Farmers aren't the only ones worried about how the cold front will impact their business. Last year, a nearby marijuana grower lost 20,000 plants worth millions of dollars because of an early winter storm.