The historic heat wave in Michigan this past spring left the state’s apple farmers with a very weak harvest this year.
Roughly 20 million bushels of apples were lost due to high temperatures, according to the Michigan Apple Committee, a quasi-governmental organization dedicated to improving the profitability of Michigan’s apple industries.
In a statement, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said “This is the worst natural disaster to strike Michigan’s agricultural industry in more than 50 years.”
In late June, Snyder signed a bill supporting a low-interest loan program to assist farmers with severe crop damage. Prior to the bill, he officially requested disaster relief from the United States Department of Agriculture. According to data gathered earlier this year by agriculture experts, cherry harvests were also reportedly down 50 percent from 2011.
As fall approaches, many cider mills and orchards are feeling the effects of the bad harvest. Wiard’s Cider Mill and Apple Orchard, located at 5565 Merritt Road in Ypsilanti, had their apple crop decimated this year.
“If there was ever a year to support your local orchard, this is would be the year,” Rose Timbers, special events coordinator at Wiard’s, said,
Timbers said the lack of apples was not a direct result of the drought, but because the blossoms were frozen after the heat wave had passed. She said that Wiard’s has been able to supplement its very light crop with apples from friends and family from the west side of Michigan.
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