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Cold Snap: Naples farmer works to protect crops from freezing

Cold Snap: Naples farmer works to protect crops from freezing

By Cory O'Donnell. CREATED Jan 4, 2012

NAPLES- A farmer's livelihood and hard work can be stolen overnight.  That has one Southwest Florida farmer watching what he plants.

 
"Everything we normally pick each morning, we couldn't pick anything, it's frozen solid and we'll be back in business tomorrow," said Farmer Frank Oakes, owner of Food and Thought in Naples. 
 
Mother nature robbed several Southwest Florida farmers last night.
Luckily, she didn't take much from farmer Frank Oakes. 
 
"The tomatoes we grow, the squash, the cucumbers and the beans all freeze very easily and I lost all of those last year.
This year I said I'm not planting any," said Oakes.
 
At Oakes' Farm off of Immokalee Road in Naples, he planted more brocolli and lettuce this year. Those vegetables can handle the colder weather, but the ones
that can't like the tomatoes only occupy a row of the farm field.
 
"Thankfully, last night we didn't put out anymore than we did because I don't think things faired very well." 
 
Farmers I spoke with on Wednesday tell me they have to toss several acres of tomatoes lost during last night's killing freeze. At Oakes Farm, the tomato plants are covered with blankets, 
but there is no guarantee. 
 
"If I loose the 9 rows of soft stuff I've put in I've already picked half way through it and then I'll come out of this 
unscathed," said Oakes.
 
Oakes also has strawberries at his farm. Those survived and typically can handle the colder weather.