Farmers feeling effects of low fruit production
The warm spring this year has put a damper on fruit production across New York State. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, production is down significantly. YNN's Sheba Clarke spoke with fruit farmers and wineries in the Finger Lakes, feeling the drastic effects.
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The warm Spring and April frost this year has put a damper on fruit production across New York State.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, production is down significantly.
Local fruit farmers say they are feeling those effects. The Green Acres Farm off Latta Road in Greece is pretty much Kathy Pearson's and her son Joe Michaloski's backyard.
"On this farm here I have about ninety acres of fruit," said Pearson.
From her nine acres of peaches to her twenty acres of apples, harvest this year got off to a sour start for almost every crop except her blueberries.
"Due to the cold we had in April, it froze off a lot of the blossoms and without the blossoms you get no fruit," said Pearson.
The farm lost sixty percent of its peaches and at least fifty percent of its apples.
"It's a real challenge let me tell you. Naturally everything is down, business is down," said Pearson.
According to the USDA, production statewide is forecast at a record low. Pearson says for her it's so low she's had to cancel her 'pick-your-own' peach season.
"I just don't have the supply, so I can't open for 'pick-your-own' and let the public come in and risk losing any peaches to waste," she said.
Pearson says because of the low supply and high demand, peach prices could increase by twenty-five percent. When apple harvest rolls around, those prices can jump between ten to fifteen percent.
"My father talks about back in the 40s they had one bad year but I've never had to go through something like this," said Pearson.
It's not just apples and peaches that will suffer this year, but according to the USDA grape production will be down nearly forty percent from a year ago.
"Our vineyard has been lucky. The way we've planted the way we've irrigated, we've got a nice Seneca Lake breeze, we haven't seen the effect," said Greg Mitchell of the White Springs Winery.
For some wineries, setting up for Riesling Festival in Canandaigua this weekend, this year's crop has not affected them yet, because it's not in the bottle. Some say only time will tell if it will.
"There can be a lot of crop loss because we deal with a lot of grapes from different regions in New York, Long Island, Finger Lakes and also the Lake Erie region," said Joe Nelson of Mazza Chautauqua Cellars. "We can have a significant crop loss that can put our production down to a certain extent."
As for Pearson, she hopes pricing and nearly perfect produce can help grow some sort of profit to get her through a tough year.
"I'm expecting the price is going to justify the crop this year and I'm at least able to make money or break even," she said.