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Orchards Suffer In Drought

Last updated on Wednesday, July 25, 2012

(TERRE HAUTE) - Any other year around this time, Swanee Orchards’ business would be booming.

"We was gonna have the best year we ever had. We had a full bloom on all our trees which happened in really late March," Swanee Orchards Owner Dallas May said.

Gina Glaros of WTHI reports that those blooms didn't blossom.

Now, they're closed.

"We've emailed all our customers that we have on our website and let them know we're not going to be open," May said.

With last April's freeze and this summer's dry weather, this year's harvest takes a hit in quantity and quality.

Business got so bad nationwide that Mott's Apple Company approached Swanee Orchards, but didn't have much luck.

"The few that are on the trees are small due to the drought and a lot of them have freeze rings around them which is from the late freeze which causes them to look pretty nasty and so what's there isn't worth anything," he said.

Due to demand, customers can expect to fork over 50 cents or more a pound from the orchards that do stay open.

That price could increase as production falls even more.

As for Swanne Orchards, they will lose around $30,000 this year.

Thankfully, May's in the apple business as a hobby and not to make a living.

"We're looking forward to next year. We're just gonna take a vacation this year and enjoy life and come back next year and hopefully have a good year."

It's a disappointing year for orchards across the Midwest, forcing many to skip this year overall, in hopes of a slice of good business next season.

To put April's freeze into perspective, in Terre Haute on April 12th, overnight lows dropped to 29 degrees.

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