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Cold Spring Delays Berry Harvest

Written By: Tanja Rekhi
Cold Start to Spring Delays Berry Harvest

BIG FLATS (WENY) -- It looks like it's starting to warm up, but a late start to Spring has pushed back harvesting for a few crops here in the Twin Tiers.
     "This has been one of the worst Winters that I can remember and I'm 81 years old and I don't remember one this cold," said berry farmer, George Kapral. "We have some loss, but again  we're not the only ones, a lot of others have the same thing.
    Berry farmers say, raspberries and strawberries are going to come a little bit behind schedule because of a longer Winter and cool start to Spring.
     "Blueberries will be in good shape, blackberries will be alright, but the raspberries will be a little slim this year," said Kapral. "Normally the leaves are on there quite a bit, but I just noticed like one leaf on a bush and that isn't much."
     George Kapral no longer grows strawberries because they are difficult to maintain. Over in Owego, farmers are reporting a late crop as well. They're waiting to see what the impact will be.
     In the meantime, workers are trimming the bushes, making way for  new leaves and flowers to blossom.
     "The bush starts to blossom and you get a frost," said Kapral. "it kills the blossom and that's no more fruit. Last night we had a little bit of frost but again, [crops are] susceptible to a certain amount."
     At Kapral's U-pick farm in in Big Flats, he says things will really start blooming by June. But thanks to the recent weather, customers may see fewer berries in the patches.
     "Well they'll just have to pick and maybe they won't get as many when they come back, they may have to come back a couple times," said Kapral.
     Kapral says they're looking forward to some of the warmer temperatures to come. He says a late bloom typically impacts prices, but he won't be increasing his.