Fruit farmers should be waiting to pick their crop this season but they’re now watching it dry up.
We’ve followed part time farmer Orlen Bate’s crop through the season. There was early blooms from an unusually warm winter, a frost that initially hurt the crop and now the fruit that’s left is undersized and drying on the branches.
"If I was depending on fruit being my livelihood this year it wouldn’t happen," said Bates. "It’s just a total loss from beginning to end."
Bates who also has honey bees said they’ll be no blueberry honey this season because of the lack of the fruit. Recently he also added 24 more apple trees to his property and with the dry weather must haul water to them.
"Water real early in the morning or late at night. It’s the least amount of evaporation," explained Bates. "I’ll put at least 5 gallons if not 10 gallons every four days at the base of the tree and at this point I’m just in survival mode. I just want the tree to survive."
For a man who designs circuit boards for a living, Bates, said he considers it much easier than fruit farming, which takes patience and where a lot can go wrong that’s not in your control.