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Wild Weather Ruins Michigan Fruit Crops

Frigid temperatures April 29 ruined cherry and apple crops, report the Associated Press and WWJ.

Many Michiganders have enjoyed this year's wild weather, which brought unseasonably warm temperatures this winter and spring, but it's also had a dark side: An unusual April freeze has devastated fruit crops in the state.

Frigid temperatures April 29 ruined cherry and apple crops, according to WWJ and an Associated Press report on myfoxdetroit.com, which could mean higher prices at the grocery store and fewer pick-your-own opportunities.

That is devastating not only for individual farmers, but also for Michigan's agriculture industry as a whole.

The annual economic impact of the state's apple industry is estimated at $800 million, according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture. In 2009, Michigan produced sweet cherries worth $13.6 million and tart cherries worth $40.2 million, according to the MDA.

Erwin’s Orchards and Cider Mill in South Lyon experienced a total loss of its apple and cherry crops and this fall and will not be able to welcome families who usually come to pick their own fruit, according to WWJ.

And, that Mueller’s Orchard & Cider Mill in Linden/Fenton Township won't open this year for the first time since 1941 due to the destructive weather. Nearby , which will remain open, experienced its worst crop since 1945, according to the report.

Glen Arbor-based Cherry Republic, a store that features gourmet cherry products, also is feeling the fallout, reports the AP, which says the specialty food maker may have to use tart cherries from other states or even other countries to make up for the loss.

In fact, a blog post on Cherry Republic's website says the company will use tart cherries from Poland, as well as cranberries, to make this summer's products.

"The problem was two weeks of 70 and 80 degree weather in the middle of March," the blog post reads. "And the cherries began to bud and bloom and then we had hard frost after hard frost in April! At first, everyone up here was watching the weather with fingers crossed or hands in prayer. But then there were so many frozen nights – the orchards became budding blossoming graveyards. Finally, about everyone tossed their hands up in disgust – completely exhausted from this whipping by Mother Nature."

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