West Texas Fruit And Nut Crop Hurt By Easter Storm - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/26/07

West Texas Fruit And Nut Crop Hurt By Easter Storm

Harvest is underway on what is expected to be one of the largest cotton crops on the South Plains. However, there are other crops that won't be setting any records this year due to a problem that began six months ago.

The owner of Apple Country in Idalou, Cal Brints says, "These trees, about August, are full of apples in a normal year. These trees would be Red Delicious apples."

A group of pre-kindergartners visiting Apple County in Idalou on Friday would be picking from the trees if they were full. Instead, they are learning about why there are so few apples.

"For the first time ever we can tell in the history of growing apples in West Texas, we had a damaging freeze," Brints said.

The freeze Brints is refering to is a storm that brought snow and nearly two days of freezing temperatures to the South Plains Easter weekend.

Brints said, "Probably over 90% of our crop was lost, so as a result we had to rely on orchards around us to bring in apples."

We're told since the freeze lasted not just an hour, but multiple hours, it affected the fruit, not only at Apple Country, but at many orchards across the South Plains, including peaches and pecan orchards.

Vicki Jobe, co-owner of Pecan Ridge said, "The pecan trees were just blooming out at that point in time. So it essentially froze the blooms. So there is essentially no pecan crop at all in this area of Texas."

 Jobe explains that means this year they will not be shelling many pecans. However, next year she expects to be very busy, along with the apple orchard.

"Unless we get some hail damage or some type of freeze we're going to be looking at a wonderful crop next year," Jobe said.

Brints says the trees "are going to be way overloaded with fruit because they've rested from a year with our freeze."

We are told the Easter freeze affected fruit and nut farmers not only in the Lubbock area, but also across the Panhandle and down to the Midland and Odessa area. However, since most of these area farmers do not play a major role in supplying area grocers, prices at the stores are not expected to go up.

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