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Winter ruins collard green crop in parts of Va.

Saturday - 3/1/2014, 10:10am  ET

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- Call it the great collard shortage of '14.

From Pungo to western Tidewater, fields that should be green with tall, leafy collards are instead striped with limp, yellow rows -- the plants splayed out on cold, wet ground.

Blame a brutal winter that brought record-low temperatures, multiple measurable snowfalls, willful winds and plenty of rain.

Collards are a hearty, cold-weather crop and as much a tradition on Tidewater tables as striper and country ham. Since colonial times, home cooks have simmered pots full of the greens for hours with pieces of fatty pork called streak-of-lean. Local chefs turn collards into salsa and stir-fry dishes.

The winter season started normally, with local farmers meting out their plantings so the harvest would stretch into spring. The polar vortex nixed those plans.

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Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com


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