Farmers Frustrated With Winter Weather This Spring

GREENBLUFF, Wash. - You think you're tired of the cool, wet spring we're having in the Inland Northwest? Be thankful if you don't make your living as a farmer.

Monday's snowfall is the perfect example of what farmers are facing this spring: Wet weather, late season snowfall and cold nights all threatening their sensitive crops.

Jason Morrell at Walter's Fruit Ranch was discouraged when he came out to his apricot trees at Walter's Fruit Ranch to find dead buds because of the cold weather.

"It kept them at too cold of a temperature for too long, killing the bud," Morrell said.

A Greenbluff grower says the early start to winter weather damaged some crops, but some of the damage is as new as two weeks ago. One way farmers can tell if their apricot crop is damaged is running their hand down the branch; if the buds fall off it means they are frozen and dead.

About half of the apricot buds at Walter's have been wiped out.

Down the road, cold temperatures have Hidden Acres owner Nick Simchuk is keeping an eye on his peaches, which are about a week behind schedule right now. But losing some fruit buds may not be all bad news.

"It might be actually beneficial and help with the thinning process. I'm not worried at all I think it will be a decent year," Simchuk said.

Farmers get rid of some fruit buds so the fruit can grow better. Down at Walter's Fruit Ranch Morrell says not to worry, as there will still be apricots and lots of choices.

"If someone was coming up to Walter's to u-pick we would have another crop for them to pick. We even have a summer apple that fits in real well," Morrell said.