This year’s crop harvest in New York state has been significantly impacted by freezing temperatures that swept through the region in May. Orchards and fields across the state have been reshaped, resulting in crop losses ranging from 5 to 100% for some farms, according to Senators Chuck Schumer’s office. Schumer and fellow Senator Kirsten Gillibrand played a crucial role in securing these federal funds to support the affected farmers.
Laura Ten Eyck, the manager at Indian Latter Farms in Albany County, explained that the drop in temperatures caused significant issues with crop blooming.
“The temperature went down to between 29 and 27 degrees for about five hours,” she said. “So some of the very young fruit was damaged and we experienced some crop loss.
The extent of the damage varied depending on the location of the crops within the orchard.
Despite the challenges, Indian Latter Farms is still open and welcoming visitors for apple picking and other activities. Ten Eyck assured customers that there are still plenty of good crops available, including cooking crops and cider crops. She encouraged people to make use of crops that may not look perfect but can still be used for baking and cider production.
The freezing temperatures have not only affected Indian Latter Farms but also farms statewide. As many as 31 counties have been impacted, with some farms experiencing total crop losses.
However, there is a silver lining to this situation. Weathered crops can be used to produce more cider and baked goods, providing an opportunity for farmers to still make use of their damaged produce.
Despite the setbacks, farmers like Laura Ten Eyck remain resilient and are finding ways to make the best of the situation.
“We want to show is it’s sort of like this wavy stripe of russet,” Ten Eyck said, highlighting the unique characteristics of the weathered crops.
As the harvest season continues, farmers and consumers alike are adapting to the circumstances and finding creative ways to utilize the damaged crops. Whether it’s baking pies or pressing cider, the spirit of resilience and innovation prevails in New York’s agricultural community.