Despite Late Spring Frost, Farmers Predict Plenty of Apples in Bayfield

By KBJR News 1

Despite Late Spring Frost, Farmers Predict Plenty of Apples in Bayfield

August 24, 2012 Updated Aug 24, 2012 at 4:47 PM CDT

Bayfield, WI (Northlands NewsCenter)
-- In parts of the mid-west, the apple harvest for this Fall will fall short because of a late spring frost and a dry summer. But, in a small part of Northwest Wisconsin, orchards are reporting a healthy crop, thanks to a little luck.

Jim Hauser's crop of Macintosh, Cortland, and Honeycrisp apples are popping up, despite a cold surprise from mother nature in late spring.

"It was stressful before the bloom and during the bloom, when you had warm weather and all of a sudden your going to get a streak of cold weather because it's not an exact science of what that cold weather is going to do to that blossom before it's out," said Hauser at his farm in Bayfield.

Compared to apple growers in lower Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan, the farmers in Bayfield lucked out.

"They're froze out this year, frosted out in the Spring which we almost did and that could have happened hear because frost can hit one side of the street and not the other. Luckily it didn't hit here," said Craig Johnson who runs Sunset Valley Orchards in Bayfield.

"They might have 50 percent of the crop, 40 percent, 30 percent, some only have five percent," said Hauser, referring to the crops in southern Wisconsin.

A few in Bayfield are predicting a small harvest, but Hauser, and the majority of apple growers expect close to a 90 percent harvest in September.

"It's been very challenging, a lot of different things happened. Luckily, I guess I overcome it. The crop looks pretty good," said Johnson.

"As far as the volume of apples we are going to have it's probably an average crop, but a nice crop," said Hauser.

Hauser and Johnson are hoping for more rain, and feel their luck won't run out in the final stretch of this strange, but successful growing season.

The apples should be ripe for the picking a week early this year just in time for Bayfield's Annual Apple Festival, which kicks off October 5th.