Some Maine orchards took hit from frost

Posted May 29, 2010, at 1:27 p.m.
In this April 14, 2010 photo, John Burns, general manager at Lookout Farm, holds a blossom on a Cortland apple branch at the farm in Natick, Mass.  Burns said that due to the warm weather his apple trees are blooming about 24 days early.  Fruit farmers in New England are concerned that a killing frost might affect their trees this season.(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
AP
In this April 14, 2010 photo, John Burns, general manager at Lookout Farm, holds a blossom on a Cortland apple branch at the farm in Natick, Mass. Burns said that due to the warm weather his apple trees are blooming about 24 days early. Fruit farmers in New England are concerned that a killing frost might affect their trees this season.(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

CUMBERLAND, Maine — An early May frost has taken its toll on some Maine apple orchards, wiping out almost entire crops.

Growers say although many blossoms and early apples appeared to have survived the freeze that began May 10, they are now wilting and falling. Greg Sweetser, whose family runs an orchard in Cumberland, tells the Portland Press Herald at least 90 percent of his crop is a loss.

Fruit specialists say most of the hardest-hit orchards were in the southern half of the state.

Many orchards had smaller losses, and growers say there should be enough of a crop to supply farm stands and many pick-your-own operations. But at least one expert says the freeze could reduce Maine’s $15-million-a-year apple crop by half.

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