McDougal • Orchards

2023 Challenging Weather Events

Frost Damage

“A Farmer has to be an optimist, or they wouldn’t still be a Farmer” – Will Rogers

You may have seen or experienced the challenging weather events that have been affecting farms in New England and beyond. On Febuary 4th the temperature fell to -16 F that essentially wiped out all the peach and most of the other stonefruit crops (plums, etc.)

In the early morning hours of May 18th, right in the middle of a beautiful, heavy bloom in the orchard, we had a late frost that damaged our apple crop. Of both orchards, the back field was most affected, we lost a good portion of our crop. The upper field fared much better, there is some frost damage on some apples and a few varieties were affected more than others, but so far it looks like we will have a decent harvest from that orchard.

In order to tell if a flower has survived or not, take a blossom from the tree and cut just below the petals. This is called the seed cavity. If everything is green with no discoloration, the flower survived (1st photo) and is viable. If there is browning, the flower is most likely dead (4th photo). Take several samples from around the tree. It also is helpful to check the seed cavities in one entire cluster of flowers to see how many per cluster are viable for potential fruit.

The best case scenario is that Mother Nature has done some thinning for us, but it’s too early to see the extent of the damage, so keep your fingers crossed! 

Our raspberries are doing well and the squash and pumpkins are busy growing, and we are keeping busy with some new projects, so stay tuned for more!

We appreciate your continued support throughout the years and the season!