Apr 16, 2014 8:29 PM by Greg Dingrando

Fruit farmers feeling good despite late freeze

PENROSE - Mother Nature can be a farmers best friend or worst enemy, and this winter she's been a real pain, particularly for the area apple orchards.

The late freezes have come right at the time apples are starting to bloom, putting farmers at risk of losing everything.

At Happy Apple in Penrose the trees were covered with snow on monday. That's normally not a good thing for fruit, but in this case it might have helped save the day.

"It covers the fragile little fruit blossom. that actually helped us the snow. it acts like a blanket," said owner Tony Ferrara.

But perhaps the best news is the apples are behind schedule, meaning they haven't bloomed yet.

"If we were in full bloom Monday when the snow storm hit with temps in the 20s that would have nicked us pretty good because the full bloom is most susceptible and fragile when blossom is open," said Ferrara.

Looking at the blossoms days later Ferrara said things are fine.

To make things even better dozens of volunteers from Classical Academy were there to get rid of all the dead stuff. Many of them have been coming here since they were kids, so they know first hand just how important Happy Apple and other orchards can be.

"Its just a lot of fun and i have a lot of good memories here," said Caitlyn Del Monico.

"A lot of memories would be lost. If it went out of business or something the memories would be gone. The memories made here with family and friends is just really cool and you remember that for rest of your life," said Ian Helmcke.

But you can't forget about the apples.

"They're really good here. We make apple sauce, apple pie, apple cobbler. That's the best stuff with cinnamon," said Helmcke.

Sounds delicious, but the cold weather isn't over just yet.

Temps are expected to be in the low 30s Wednesday, but the owner said its nothing his trees can't handle.

"I think we're going to be ok I really do. The next 7 days is going to be most critical. If I can get real close to May I'm usually home free," said Ferrara.




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