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Extended winter improves Bayfield apple prospects

An extended winter and a longer, colder and snowy spring is causing Bayfield orchards to run a little behind. But that's not bad news. Bayfield orchard owners say it's nothing they can't come back from. Actually, it's helped.

Erickson Orchard and Country Store Owner Fred Erickson isn't worried about his apples.

"The apple crop is probably about a week and a half, two weeks behind but that's about it," Erickson said. "The wet weather actually, a lot of people think that that was a detriment but it was so dry for so many years, you know the last three or four years, the trees actually look the best they've looked in a few years as far as health wise."

Hillcrest Orchards Owner Perri Shuga says her crops are behind too but the snow and rain hasn't damaged her apples and berries. She's excited to see how all the snow melt and rain this year will improve the orchard for the future.

"You know we had like six years of drought, complete drought and like four years prior to that of dry conditions," Shuga said. "Our water table, just everything is behind, the streams are low, and everything is low. So in the short term we may not have that good of a crop but looking forward to next year, everything will be fine."

Hauser Superior View Farm owner Jim Hauser says the extended spring is rare but he wasn't too surprised by it. He says this spring helped avoid a lot of problems at the orchard.

"I think in the end it delays some things and actually makes some things a little bit better," he said. "Like we are past the danger of frost for blooms and it takes some of those things out of the equation."

The owners agree there won't be a shortage of apples this season and strawberries will be ready by the end of June or early July.

Wisconsin Public Radio can be heard locally on 91.3 KUWS-FM and online at www.wpr.org.

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