Updated 04/02/2012 07:12 PM
Cold overnight weather could wipe out local fruit crops
With temperatures expected to dip into the 30s and high 20s overnight, local fruit crops could be in danger. Many of them blossomed early due to several warm days in March. Local farmers are searching for ways to keep their crops alive, which, as our Candace Hopkins found out, is no easy task.
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OSWEGO, N.Y.--"You've got one shot at it. Once these bloom, you don't have another chance to put another crop on until next year. Consequently, you could go a whole season without any income," said Jack Torrice, owner of Fruit Valley Orchard in Oswego.
It's a problem facing farmers throughout Central New York: Mild temperatures in March caused many fruit crops to bud early and now the return of cold weather could wipe the fragile plants out.
"Trees are budding out. We have an ornamental cherry tree that is in bloom, peaches in bloom, apricots, plums. It's never happened in 27 years," Torrice said.
And for such an usual problem, there are few solutions. Orchard owners have already faced one similar night this spring.
"What we did when that cold night came is we put small brush piles in the rows and we kept them going from about midnight to 9:30 Tuesday morning in an effort to put some heat near to the buds and it seemed to work," said Torrice.
If all else fails, Torrice says there's just one thing left to do.
"There's not much you can do,” Torrice said. “Pray about it I guess. That's about all you can do."
It's a frustrating reality for farmers, who are now left hoping this roller coaster of temperatures will soon be behind us.
Farmers say with the way things look now, the apple harvest could start weeks early, with the crop potentially arriving in late August.