Disaster for Cherry Crop
DOOR COUNTY, WI – Gov. Scott Walker is requesting is the U.S. Department of Agriculture declare an agricultural disaster for parts of Wisconsin, after fruit trees are destroyed by a harsh spring.
If the requests are successful it could help Wisconsin farmers qualify for federal disaster aid.
"Every morning I go out and take a ride and hope more cherries show up, and they never do," said Bob Lautenbach, Owner of Orchard Country Winery.
Lautenbach said in 40 years, he’s never seen it this bad.
"Usually this time of year every tree is the orchard is just a sea of red," he said
An unusually warm march, followed by a cold April killed most of the crop.
"Normally we grow about 12 million pounds,” he said. “Now we're down to 700,000."
Losing millions and millions of pounds. Lautenbach said he's never seen an agriculture disaster declared, but it's good the governor is stepping in.
The Cherry Growers Association of Wisconsin said whatever product they can produce this year will stay local, which is good news for Door County.
You think door county, you think cherries," said Tammy Schraufnagel, who is visiting the area.
“That is a disaster, cause it's the best cherries ever are up here,” said Sheri Stohl, who is visiting Door County all the way from Illinois.
Customers may notice the real impact when it comes time for "pick you own cherries." It may be a struggle to find some to take home.
“We always end up taking some back with us, dried cherries, cherry jam, chocolate covered cherries,” said Stohl.
But for now, they’re still buying what Door County is famous for.
Lautenbach said the prices for most products will go up because of the shortage. He also says it will hurt production. Orchard Country Winery will start processing tart cherries next week.