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Flower farmer keeps eye on crops as overnight freezing temperatures impact Santa Ynez Valley

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Santa Ynez Valley, Calif. - As a flower grower, Mark Donofrio isn't dreaming of a White Christmas.

But the overnight freezing temperatures are turning it into one.

“Ice! We found ice on all of our tunnels … the field was covered with snow. It was covered with cold," said Donofrio of The Starter Farm in Santa Ynez.

While some flowers are surviving, Donofrio woke up to a wet and muddy field.

“It looks terrible! Haha! The best time to come and see a flower farm is in the summer when it’s in the height of blooms," said Donofrio.

Donofrio said some cold is good for the flowers, but not extended periods of frost.

“We pull the tunnels down at night, and in the morning you’re scared when you lift the top up to hope  the Frost didn’t get in and do any damage on the pedals," said Donofrio.

Donofrio said longer stretches of cold temperatures this year has lead to a shortage of flower supplies for Forage Florals in Santa Ynez.

“Really sad. I actually cried today when he brought in the blooms and it’s been about three weeks from not having mark’s flowers in the store," said owner Jill Redman of Forage Florals.

Redman said she almost completely depends on Donofrio’s flowers for her business.

“We depend on him 100 percent of the time … he is my main supplier ... when the weather is good," said Redman.

But as a "field only grower," he believes the flowers will survive, along with his strong ties to the community.

Article Topic Follows: Lifestyle

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Patricia Martellotti

Patricia Martellotti is a reporter for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Patricia, click here.


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