East Texas fruit future uncertain after winter storm damage

Los Pinos Vineyards
Los Pinos Vineyards
Updated: Mar. 10, 2021 at 2:30 PM CST
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CAMP COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - East Texas orchard owners are cautiously waiting to find out how much damage was done by the big freeze, and how it will affect production.

Peach and grape growers believe they’ll lose a percentage of their stock.

It’s a wait and see game, to assess the damage the February snowstorm may have done to existing plants.

“I think it was on the back of our minds every body who farms minds, we’d never seen anything like that.

Rain, that kind of insulated the limbs and the trees when it froze before that hard freeze came through,” says Brantley Efurd of Efurd Orchards in Camp county.

At the Los Pinos winery, similar concerns on, not if there are losses, but how much.

“We were concerned for the grapevines. They were dormant for the winter. The sap had gone down into the roots,” said Los Pinos president Perry Wilson.

“Too cold! We don’t know how bad we got it. Need to wait 4 more weeks, and we’ll see how bad that is. We have to come to the vineyard and look at every single vine,” says winemaker Arnulfo Perez.

With 15 acres of grapes, the hope is that a majority survived.

“Our big question is how bad the freeze effect the grapes,” Wilson says.

One encouraging sign is calling ‘weeping’. Moisture oozing from a pruned limb.

“When you see the liquid coming to the top, that means good news. If we don’t got fruit, we don’t got wine,” says Perez.

They’ll know when the bloom starts in 4 weeks.

“Just now budding out, that’s also a good sign. Everything we’ve opened up so far has been green and not been blackened by the hard freeze,” Efurd says.

“We’ll have to wait and see,” says Wilson.

‘Efurds’ expects they’ll have strawberries ready by April and the early peaches by mid May.

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