The evidence of a tough year for farms in Cache Valley often makes itself known during the fall. Apples, pumpkins and other crops many people enjoy this time of year, are hard to find locally. Farmers are doing their best to recover.
A late snow storm at the end of May, a hot summer and other elements have impacted crops in Cache Valley. Ali Harrison is the owner of Paradise Valley Orchard. She said this year, she is pressing apple cider from apples that didn’t grow on her farm.
“We’ve definitely dealt with loss here and there, but this year we had total loss. 100 percent loss of our crop,” Harrison said. “We’re still pressing cider for other people, people can bring their apples and press with us. We’re definitely not doing as much because a lot of people lost their apples too. This year was a super weird year for a lot of people. It’s one of those things like, oh every 100 years, you know, total loss. The great loss of 2017 or whatever they’re going to call it.”
Harrison said weather is something farmers can’t plan for. You can plant cold-resistant apples, but even they can only withstand a light frost. She said apples don’t survive when the temperature gets too far below freezing, especially down to 24 degrees like last May.
Paradise Valley Orchard is now open for weddings and other events to supplement income this year. Harrison said putting all your eggs in one basket is risky, so they’re adding other varieties of crops for the future and hope for a better year in 2018.
“Some say there’s an old wives tale that says that after a total loss year, it gives the trees a year to rest,” Harrison said. “People have said that next year might be a total bumper crop.”
Keith Meickle, who manages Mt. Naomi Farms with his wife Brenda is hoping for the same thing. They’re already making backup plans by adding a big barn for weddings and other events.
“Well after this year I’d hope we have a win next year because this year has been very hard,” Meickle said. “Not just for the vineyard crops or the orchard crops, I mean we did have apples, but we lost our peaches and the apples were hurt just due to our location. It hurt, it really hurt the bottom line for ever farmer in the valley, not just those involved in horticulture or crops.”
Mt. Naomi Farms normally invites the public for hayrides and pumpkin picking, but had to shut down early because of the impacted crops.