Bitter Cold Concerns Local Fruit Farmers - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Bitter Cold Concerns Local Fruit Farmers

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The deep freeze this week has led to deep worry for a lot of North East fruit farmers. They are worried the bitter cold may have done significant damage to cherries, peaches, and some varieties of wine grapes.

 It has happened before, in the late 1970's. when fruit farmers suffered heavy losses to crops like peaches and cherries that don't tolerate sub-zero temperatures. Now there is worry history may be repeating itself.

 At Mobilia Farms it was 10 below zero early Tuesday. Owner Nick Mobilia is worried the bitter cold that followed a thaw and rain, could mean the  loss of perhaps 80% of his cherry crop. He is also concerned about the impact on some of his wine grapes.

 At Burch Farms, the focus is on the farm's 10 acres of peach trees. Even though the trees are dormant, the buds can be damaged.

 Tim Burch said, "The peaches are so sensitive to cold weather, the buds cannot handle the extreme cold and they actually die. We don't know if 50% of the buds may have been killed or it may be as high as 75%."

 Now there is some good news. Fruit farmers say many key crops including concord and Niagara grapes and apples should not be affected by the deep freeze.

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