WINTERVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A local farm is preparing for the below-freezing temperatures expected the next few nights.

The owner of Brock’s Berries and Produce said she spent most of the day Thursday covering their homegrown strawberries to make sure they don’t freeze.

The Winterville business is protecting its biggest asset.

“Strawberries are what bring people to our farm,” said Sue Ellen Brock. “People are coming to pick strawberries for the experience with their children.”

Brock said she constantly monitors the forecast. When she sees below freezing temperatures coming, she calls in her employees.

“We had about six guys out here pulling row covers for us and it took them about two to three hours to get them pulled to protect these plants,” said Brock.

Brock said that’s not cheap either. She said throughout the winter she keeps her employees on standby.

Pitt County extension agent Danny Lauderdale said the cover for the strawberries is expensive but worth it in the long run.

“It’s a spun bonded material that will give them a few degree protection, where as a regular sheet wouldn’t do that,” said Danny Lauderdale.

If they don’t cover the berries with the proper row cover, Brock estimated she could lose around 30% of her strawberries.

“At this point in the season, berries need to be protected to get our early first berries of the season, otherwise they will be ten days to two weeks late,” said Brock.

Brock’s Berries and Produce will keep the strawberries covered until temperatures in the 30’s return.

Brock said every time cooler weather comes in the area they have to re-cover the berries.

“It will be a long process we do every time,” said Brock.

The strawberries are expected to be for sale by early spring.