Apricots in the El Llano section of Espanola look unharmed by the late April snowfall and subsequent frigid temperatures. Although May is seasonably warmer, a few years ago a frost that hit on May 27 decimated fruit and gardens in a large part of the Valley. Photo by Robert Naranjo/valleydailypost.com
Fruit In Valley Dodged A Frozen Bullet
By ROBERT NARANJO
Hernandez – Danny Romero, a long-time fruit grower who supplies peaches and other produce to Romero’s Fruit Stand and to other stores in northern New Mexico, said that the late April snowstorm and subsequent freezing temperatures forced him to be out lighting small bonfires (to create heat) to save his peaches from freezing early Saturday morning, April 29. His orchard is located where Hernandez meets El Duende in the Espanola Valley.
In an interview, Romero told the Valley Daily Post, “The temperature dropped to 31 degrees and the sky was clear. Then it dropped to 29 degrees but a huge cloud moved in over the Valley at 1 a.m. and the temperature started going back up and remained just above the freezing mark heading into the 5 or 6 a.m. hour when fruit is in the most danger of being lost to frost.”
Asked if he had not lit fires, would his orchard not have suffered a crippling freeze, he said, “Yes, I didn’t have to light the fires,” but he said was taking“precautions.” Was the cloud a godsend he was asked, Romero quickly agreed and said it was.
Denise at Romero’s Fruit Stand told the Valley Daily Post that her cherries and other fruit trees did not freeze. She lives nearby in Hernandez. She said it was the moisture that the storm brought in played a part in saving the fruit. Danny Romero agreed that the moisture helped save the fruit trees, too.
A man from Tierra Azul who was dining with his wife at a local restaurant said that the few trees he has did not escape the cold temperatures “and always freeze,” he said. A woman from Nambe said her neighbor “lost all his trees” a few years ago with a late freeze but was happy with the news that the apricots in the Valley escaped the frost.
Posts on social media have people reporting that their cherries made it or their apricots did, etc. It looked ominous when snow began falling on Friday, April 28, but on Saturday in the early morning, a fortuitous large cloud over the Valley created a “giant blanket” for the fruit trees. As the old timers in the Valley are fond of saying, “Gracias a Dios.”
Vinifera or wine grapes at the Dona Carmelita Naranjo Vineyard in the El Llano section of Espanola look unharmed by the late April snowfall and cold temperatures. Photo by Robert Naranjo/valleydailypost.com