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Deep freezes last winter and spring cost some fruit farmers in southern Maine part of their harvests

The May freeze killed blossoms on the apple trees in bloom at McDougal Orchards in Springvale.
McDougal Orchards
The May freeze killed blossoms on the apple trees in bloom at McDougal Orchards in Springvale.

Extreme temperature drops last winter and spring cost some fruit farmers in southern Maine part of their harvests.

In May a late spring freeze ruined Ellen McDougal's Honeycrisp and Evercrisp varieties due to their early bloom time.

"We were at full bloom. The 17th of May everything was in full bloom, pink and white. The next morning we went out and they were brown, all the blossoms were brown. Some varieties bloom earlier and those are the ones that were affected," McDougal said.

McDougal says the subzero temperatures Maine experienced in February caused other fruits to suffer as well.

"We lost all the peaches in February, the temperature went down to minus 15, minus 16 degrees, so we lost all of the stone fruit. It was a double whammy," she said.

McDougal says her farm store in Springvale will be closing a couple of weeks earlier this fall, but she still has some of the later blooming apple varieties in the store for sale.

Other farms report that the spring freeze caused color and texture changes that affected the value of the fruit.

The University of Maine School of Food and Agriculture reports that the state's apple crop is about half of what it could have been this year.

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