Elmira/Corning Regional Airport

Fruit Farms Brace for Hard Freeze

Written By: Renata Stiehl
Fruit Farms Brace for Hard Freeze

 

WATKINS GLENS (WENY) -- Local fruit farmers are bracing for the worst, as temperature will plunge below freezing while some fruit trees are already in bloom.
     A cold couple of nights threaten to cause major damage to fruit blossoms that bloomed early, during the recent warm weather.
     At Reisinger's Apple Country in Watkins Glen, they're keeping a very close eye on the temperatures overnight. This year's lack of winter and early spring means fruit trees are getting a head start, but the could weather on tap could bring that to a halt.
     "We have thermometers in about 20 locations and we'll be making the rounds tonight to know what to do," said Rick Reisinger, who owns Reisinger's Apple Country.
     Rick has a plan of action to protect his fruit crops. His peach and plum trees are already in blooming; tonight's cold temperatures could kill up to 90% of the blooms. But enough would remain that would bear fruit to harvest and sell.
     "Peaches and plums would be great to have, but if we didn't have a full crop we'd get by, but the apples are the main concern," he said.
Rick's apples, which are the bulk of his business, haven't blossomed yet, but the trees are full of green buds ready to bloom. He says the trees can take a bit of damage and still produce enough fruit.
     "If we didn't have a lot of blooms out there we'd be more concerned, but we've got a full crop potential, we can lose quite a bit and still have a good crop," Rick said.
     He'll be up all night tonight, along with family and neighbors making the rounds in the orchards, ready to turn on heaters for the peaches and plums, or start brush fires to warm up the apple trees.
     "Hopefully we'll get through this one, we expect to lose some, we're not expecting to lose everything," Rick said.
This year's strange weather is unlike anything Rick's ever seen.
     "The best thing is probably good thoughts and prayers, we've never experienced this early, that we've bloomed out, this is new territory."