Battle for the blossoms: Michigan farmers facing freezing temps

Posted at 3:12 PM, May 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-08 21:42:57-04

CASNOVIA, Mich. -- The bloom in West Michigan means beautiful orchards covered with white flowers, but for farmers those blooms signal the beginning of work and worry season.

“Bloom time is certainly an active, busy time on the farm," explains cherry and apple farmer Adam Dietrich. "It’s beautiful of course, though."

While the blossom covered orchards are "Pure Michigan" in a picture, Dietrich says he would also rather see something else.

“When you see a solid red canopy because of all the cherries and apples on the tree it’s pretty nice as well."

Until harvest though, farmers are focusing on protecting those beautiful blossoms from the sometimes harsh Michigan weather.

Frost fans, burn piles, even helicopters were going nearly all night. It's an expensive endeavor, but Dietrich says it's better than the alternative.

“It’s pretty cheap compared to having a crop failure or defects on the actual fruit. Frost may not kill the bud but leave a scar on the fruit that grows from it.”

Dietrich says farmer on the ridge will not know if their crop was damaged until later in the season.

“We really need to have a warm up to see things start to grow to know what’s going to make it and what won’t. I suspect we’ll have a little bit of damage from last night’s frost, but I guess I have a positive outlook on it.”

Until then, the bloom, while gorgeous, is a busy time for all farmers, especially those battling Michigan's frosty temperatures.