Frost hurt local apple, grape crops
Roger Hannigan Gilson reports for the Times Union that apple and grape crops were hit hard by a late-season frost last week. One farming expert told the newspaper that 30-35 percent of the region’s apple crop was lost in the frost. Golden Harvest farm in Columbia County, with about 200 acres of apple trees, saw temperatures of 29.1 degrees on May 18. Michael Migliore, president of the Hudson Valley Wine and Grape Association, said of local growers, “The last time they saw a frost this late that caused this much damage was 60 years ago.” Migliore, who also owns Whitecliff Vineyard and Winery, said his vineyards suffered different effects depending on their geography. Migliore's Ulster County vineyard lost between 50-60 percent of its grapes, while his Columbia County vineyard only lost about five percent of its grapes because its location on the east bank of the Hudson River was warmer. His Greene County vineyard was “100 percent wiped out.” Federal crop insurance will help some farmers with their losses, and a federal disaster declaration could mean payments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to farmers in need. Migliore said, “Is it going to make up for what happened? No. Will it possibly give you a lifeline to keep you afloat and in business? Maybe.” Read the full story in the Times Union.