Thu April 26, 2012
Frost takes toll on Door County's cherry harvest
(DOOR COUNTY) Cherry growers in Door County may be facing an agricultural disaster declaration. After a warm March temperatures took a dive and may have damaged the crop.
It'll take a couple of weeks to know for sure, but at least three freezing nights are suspected to have damaged Door County's cherry orchards.
In a normal year, growers harvest between 8 and 10 million pounds of cherries. This year Dean Volenberg expects what he calls a "slight crop." Volenberg is the agricultural agent with UW Extension in Door County.
He says Door County is a land of micro-climates. That means orchards located inland are more at risk than those along the shores of Green Bay or Lake Michigan, "We're definitely going to be in that area where we're seeing more than 30-50 percent damage so that means the crop will be considered--well the county will be actually considered a disaster for agriculture in 2012."
Volenberg says the orchards are in bloom, but take a closer look and a key part of the flowers are in trouble, "Most people see them bloom and think they look beautiful but actually the pistil which is basically where the pollen lands and pollinates that crop, what happens is that gets burned out or really dies. So the trees still look beautiful they just don't see much of a crop."
While Volenberg says this season isn't shaping up to be ideal it'll be nothing like one of the worst years in recent memory, 2008 when the harvest really took a hit. That year only about 600,000 pounds were harvested.