The metro-east is under a winter storm warning for Sunday, but local growers are not frightened by the threat of several inches of snow on the fifth day of spring.
Chris Eckert, the president of Eckert's Country Store and Farms in Belleville, said the potential winter storm would not have a negative effect on his fruit crops.
"We're pretty fortunate that we haven't had much warm weather," Eckert said. "So all our fruit trees are relatively dormant."
Because the strawberries, peaches and apples have not bloomed, snow and near-freezing temperatures cannot damage the blooms.
Rick Effinger, owner of Effinger's Garden Center in Belleville, also said the snow shouldn't harm the tender buds of spring.
The snow will act like as an insulator and protect any daffodils or tulips that are blooming, Effinger said. Leaves haven't erupted on trees and bushes yet, Effinger said.
"We don't have a lot of new growth," Effinger said. "The temperatures have stayed low enough so they have stayed dormant."
The National Weather Service predicts a 100 percent chance of rain and snow, turning into all snow after 8 a.m. Sunday. With temperatures in the upper 20s to the low 30s, the metro-east could see 6 to 11 inches of snow, according to the warning issued Saturday.
The winter storm warning is scheduled to end at midnight Sunday.
The predicted low temperatures are not as much of a concern, Eckert said.
"Critical temperatures now would be 10 to 15 degrees," Eckert said. "We think we're pretty safe.
"The only precaution that we've taken is to cover our strawberry crop," Eckert said, describing a white fabric used to insulate the plants from winter weather. When the snow falls, it actually works as a blanket on top of the fabric, keeping the strawberries warm, he said.
"Other than being a frustration to hook up our snow plows and buy more salt, the snow really does not cause negative effects," he said.
A positive of the snowfall is that it melts slower, penetrating the soil with more moisture than rain, which can run off the soil, Eckert said.
Normal bloom time for peaches is around the first week or April; apples will bloom a couple weeks later, Eckert said.
Right now, Eckert expects a normal, or slightly later, bloom time. Late blooms are preferable to early blooms, he said.
"We're kind of in line for normal," he said. "It just feels a lot later than last year.
"Last year was the warmest March in history," he said. "It was ridiculous."
Eckert said the Easter festivities at Eckert were busier than normal on Saturday, making him think that Sunday's winter weather will keep most patrons at home. "We've never had Easter eggs hunts in the snow," he said with a chuckle. "You just have to adjust to the weather and make the most of it whatever you get."