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Cold weather sweetens Suncoast crops

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SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (WWSB) - While many Suncoast residents count the days until this cold front has passed, some local farmers are welcoming the cold temperatures for their crops.

As temperatures dip down into the 40's at Brown's Grove in Sarasota, owner Tim Brown is looking forward to the affects the cold could have on his citrus crops.

"Actually that type of temperature can put more sugar and raise the sugar level in the citrus, doing them a good thing, not harm," Brown explains.

Right now, it's picking season for citrus crops. That mean's there isn't a lot of new growth that can be affected.

As for the tangerines, oranges and grapefruits that have already bloomed, Brown says they actually need the cold weather.

"If we have a warm winter, a lot of the trees will start blooming early, and it can affect the following season's crop," Brown explains.

A few miles north in Bunker Hill, Larry Woodham and his wife grow acres of grapes for their winery.

Woodham says that grapes also get sweeter as temperatures drop. It also keeps unwanted visitors away.

"Cold weather negatively affects insects too, even diseases," Woodham explains. "So that's a second benefit to it. Their populations are greatly diminished."

Of course, too much of anything is never a good thing, so Woodham is hoping temperatures stay above freezing or this sweet story could be very different.