Farmers Prepare for Hard Freeze

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PLAINS TOWNSHIP -- Temperatures are expected to plummet overnight, possibly shattering records for the coldest readings ever for the date.

Some farmers in Luzerne County are preparing for the fall freeze.

Laura Gaiteri knows how to stock up on fresh vegetables.  It may be the last time she'll be able to buy them this year here at Omalia's Farms in Plains Township.

"This is sad. This is really sad. I mean we are really here today getting the last of the potatoes, the last of the corn to grow and last of the home grown tomatoes. It`s the end of the homegrown season," said Gaiteri.

The outdoor growing season ends when temperatures fall into the 20's. Farmer Larry Omalia explains why.

"For most soft vegetation that will kind of finish it for the season for it. Being it`s not a frost, it`s an actual freeze so sometimes even covering things helps but there can still be damage with those kinds of temperatures," said Omalia.

Because temperatures are expected to dip into the upper 20`s this is the last chance workers have to pick peppers in the fields before the killer freeze hits.

Once all the peppers are picked, they'll be stored inside a cooler and sold over the next several weeks. Any left outside in the freezing temperatures will be lost to the weather.

"The pepper would more or less disintegrate. The cellular structure would turn black and get soft and continue to disintegrate," said Omalia.

Omalia says he's not worried about the freeze because this year was a complete turnaround for his crops. Last year most of his fields were underwater in the flood. And this year he'll still be able to sell all of the peppers even after the freeze hits.