Apr 30, 2012
Fate of fruit farmer’s crop is in the air

If you spent the chilly nights this weekend snuggled in bed, you wouldn’t have noticed a difference between 20- and 30-degree temperatures outside.
But on an apple orchard, it’s the difference between a healthy crop or a devastating loss — and several fruit growers in the Hudson Valley took the rare step of hiring helicopters to circle their fields, hoping to blow warmer air during three nights of frost advisories.

"We know in the mid-Atlantic and Midwest there will be a lot less apples out there, so it’s definitely worth it if you get your crop in the box," said Russell Bartolotta Jr., a co-owner of Klein’s Kill Fruit Farms just south of Hudson.

An early wave of warm air in March led apple trees to blossom too soon, he said, but with infantile fruit the size of your pinky nail now on branches, exposed, this weekend’s stretch of below-freezing temperatures could prove deadly. The Times Union

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