November 28, 2014

Elyria
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County’s peach crops dodge bullet

Proximity to lake tempered effects of late frost for some

ELYRIA — Being a few weeks behind the rest of the state crop-wise can have its advantages, particularly when a late-spring cold snap rides in.
Farmers throughout Lorain County and many of the counties bordering Lake Erie are counting their blessings as their fruit crops continue to come in with far better yields than the rest of the state.
Many orchards and farms throughout the state were adversely affected by a quick drop in temperatures in April, according to Zachary Rinkes, an Ohio State Extension educator, but farmers in Lorain County largely dodged the bullet.
“We were very lucky during the cold spell,” Rinkes said. “We have the lake effect, which keeps temperatures cooler here than in the rest of the state, and that held back the blooms a few weeks. Down around Columbus, their plants were in full bloom in April, and the cold temperatures caused significant damage.”
While farmers throughout the state are looking at a 40 percent loss in overall crop, many of the growers in Lorain County were only hit with minor losses in the 10 to 20 percent range.
“From what I have heard, everything looks pretty good, and the fruit harvest looks like it is going to be pretty productive,” Rinkes said.
The news is a welcome surprise to many local growers who feared they might be facing a bleak summer.
“It’s a lot better than we expected last spring, and we’ve actually got a nice peach crop,” said David Miller, owner of Miller Orchards on Vermilion Road in Amherst. “Some of the varieties of peaches are coming up a bit short, but overall it’s a good crop, and the rest of the fruit is likely to be good as well.”
Growers started harvesting peaches in mid-July and will continue until the beginning of September, when apple season starts.
“The freeze did a little damage, but based on what we have so far, it’s coming in well,” said Ken Spiegelberg, owner of Spiegelberg Orchards on Middle Ridge Road in Lorain. “You try to judge what the crop will be like on the tree to guess what the rest of the year will be like. It looks like it might be down a little bit from last year, but not that much.”
In addition to the good news regarding the April freeze, farmers also are pleased with the recent rains.
Contact Joe Medici at 329-7152 or jmedici@chroniclet.com.

072807peach.jpgSTEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE PHOTOS
David Miller of Miller Orchards in Brownhelm Township picks Red Haven peaches.