By SAMANTHA MCDONNELL
OBSERVER Staff Writer
With a mild winter, early spring and then a brutal frost at the end of April, many crops took a beating from Mother Nature. The strawberry crop this year has been hit and miss for most farmers.
Freezing temperatures in March and April cost some farms the majority of the crops. The damage was so widespread that the federal government issued disaster declarations for crops in many upstate counties including Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Erie. Not only was the strawberry crop affected but many other fruit farmers lost their crops as well.
Some farmers such as Yerico's Farms and Walker Farms are not opening their stands this season. Other farmers did not get too much damage from freezing temperatures. Both Scott Farms in Sinclairville and Baideme Farms in Westfield have crops and said they will be open for business this coming season.
Kurt Scott, owner of Scott Farms, said while the early frost was troublesome it was not a major problem.
"We had a little bit of problems but it looks pretty good," Scott said of the strawberries. "We lost some early blossoms."
While Scott lost some of his blooms during colder temperatures this spring, the majority of his crops were salvaged and only bloomed a week earlier than normal.
Phil Baideme of Baideme Farms said his crops were doing great and the farm was having a great season. This is the first year in which Baideme picked strawberries out of his new field. He was hesitant about the state of the crops but thus far is pleased.
"It's a great crop that we have (this year)," Baideme said. "This is the first year for picking in that field. It's a tremendous crop."
Baideme said the frost that we experienced at the end of April did not affect his crops due to creative measures for heat retention.
"We ran water over the crop to protect them from frost," Baideme said. "By the time the frost came, we had a half inch of ice to protect (the crop)."
Baideme said this method of using ice to protect crops from frost and freezing temperatures is used by many farmers in the south.
Both Scott and Baideme believe that the strawberry crop will go fast and suggested buyers to get out soon.
"If you want them, come and get them now because they could run out," Baideme said.
Scott echoed the message with his farm as well and predicts his farm will be hit hard by demand.
"People should get out early if they are going to get berries," Scott said.
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