Former state lawmaker appointed to USDA post for Michigan

(Source: WNEM)

While the weather is finally warming up the damage may already be done with the recent cold snap the past few days.

It's a critical time for fruit and vegetable crops across the state and below freezing temperatures at night can quickly lead to disaster.

As temperatures drop near freezing, local fruit farmers have been on the edge of their seat waiting to learn if their crops have been damaged by the recent May cold snap.

One of the people surveying the damage is Bob Tritten, a fruit educator at Michigan State University. He checked in on Leaman's Apple Farm in Saginaw County on Wednesday.

"So far it's looking good, but we've had a couple of nights here in a row this weekend and the first few days of this week that have been very scary for most of our fruit farmers across the state," Tritten said.

He said in Mid-Michigan most of the crops have been spared, but farms on the other side of the state near Traverse City weren't so lucky.

Frost damaged flower blossoms that were just finishing their spring bloom. That could spell disaster for cash crops like cherries.

Tritten said the temperature on the east side of the state just barely stayed above bad news.

"Boy, we were in the range of a degree or two of not a disaster, but having a major loss of fruit crops here in east Michigan," Tritten said.

John Leaman, owner of the apple farm, said he had lost sleep over the past few nights wondering if they were going to lose this year's crop. In 2012 cold temperatures destroyed most of their crop.

"This has been another weird, late winter and early spring. With the warm temperatures coming and then it getting cold again the apples bloomed early we think, but trees are in good shape," Leaman said.

If the weather continues to be this nice the folks at Leaman's can expect a sweet crop of apples.

In west Michigan, nearly two million pounds of asparagus were lost after the cold temperatures. That's about 10 percent of the year's crop.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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