Local apple orchards doing well despite others in region

KENDALLVILLE, Ind. (WANE) We reported over the weekend some apple crops in Indiana and Ohio are not doing well from the harsh winter, but many local orchard owners in northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio said, it’s a different story for them.

Some farmers in Indiana suffered a sizable loss of fruit from the harsh winter and the late frost in mid April, but locally, many orchard owners are doing just fine.

In just a few weeks owner of Orchard Hill Farms Rick Meyer said they’ll be making their rounds collecting their more than 30 varieties of apples from their tens-of-thousands of trees.

The brutal winter did have a slight negative impact but overall this year the weather and apple crops locally have gotten along quite well.

“Until the last couple of weeks, I couldn’t have scheduled the irrigation better,” Meyer said. “It was really nice. We were getting 1″ to 1.5″ per week. It was perfect. I haven’t irrigated yet. It’s getting a little dry now. If we dont’ get another inch or so in the next ten days, I may start irrigating the smaller trees”

There was an interesting problem the record snow and cold created and it involved deer. Frequent heavy snows and cold temperatures left deer frantically searching for food and that led them to orchard trees. Meyer said the deer in couldn’t get to normal food sources because of the harsh winter so they resorted to eating apple tree buds since they were higher off the ground and in reach to eat.

“One of the more significant problems we had this year was deer browsing on the trees, because we had a lot of snow on the ground,” Meyer said. “In winters when we have a lot of snow, and it lasts for several weeks, the deer get hungry, they can’t find food and they start browsing on the trees. This year, for the first time in 8 or 9 years, we did have signiifcant damage from the deer.”

So, while there were some tough beginnings for many apple orchards across the region, the crop locally is looking good. They’re ready to have you at Orchard Hill Farms very soon.

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