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Wacky Weather Impacts Local Fruit Harvests

(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

Mary Robb Jackson Mary Robb Jackson
Mary Robb Jackson joined KDKA-TV as a general assignment reporter in...
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WEXFORD (KDKA) — Farmer Reed Soergel, and his dog, Dozer, a ground hog specialist, are checking out the lay of the land.

KDKA-TV last visited the Soergel’s Family Orchards as smoke was rising from overnight fires aimed at keeping apple blossoms from freezing from the frosts of April. They had a hail storm just last Monday.

“It’s like if you’re gonna receive your paycheck at the end of the year and every day somebody yanks a little bit more out of it,” Soergel said.

A warm spell in March forced fruit trees to flower and apples and peaches began growing about three weeks early. Then temperatures plunged.

“The apples here made it through most varieties,” he said. “Some varieties are a little light.”

It’s the peach crop that’s still in question.

“You can see how the frost killed those cells and that’s the concern.”

Right now, Reed is hoping to harvest 20 to 30 percent of his peaches. Two more weeks will tell.

“Peaches, we’re still evaluating that,” he said. “There’s some internal damage in them. They’re still hanging on the trees.”

All the crazy weather has affected some parts of the country more than others – better in the south than the north, but in our neck of the woods you should be able to buy local, buy fresh and it shouldn’t cost you that much more.

“I’m thinking they probably might go up – I’m gonna say 10-15-percent,” says Reed.

So far the berries look good and there’s still time to say a few prayers.

“We always do,” says Reed, “But it’s always the Big Guy’s decision.”

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