Harsh Winter Affecting Crops

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UNION TOWNSHIP -- The harsh winter is taking a toll on some farmers in our area this spring.

You can't beat picking your own strawberries. That's what folks were doing last July at B and R farms near Ringtown. The berries are usually ready around the end of May. But farmer Robin Hetherington said not this year.

"People are calling me wondering when they should schedule their vacation for strawberries and I have no idea. The strawberries are still sleeping. People look forward to those berries, they look forward to Memorial Day and I'm here to tell you they won't be ready for Memorial Day!"

The harsh winter is being blamed.  Heatherington explains the ground is simply too cold and wet for plants to grow.

"Our hay should be greening up and starting to emerge. It's still pretty much brown out there and our asparagus should be creeping up out of the ground. Last year at this time, we were cutting it."

There are some other things the harsh winter did to the owners of B and R Farms. Half of the plastic from a greenhouse ripped off.

There is no damage at the Steher Brothers farm near Hegins but there are similar problems. Like 160,000 trays of vegetable seedlings, ready to be planted but farmer Henry Stehr can't chance it.

"Very frustrating, planters, equipment is ready to go but soil is too wet to plow the ground plus it's too cold to put plants out," Steher said.

Most fields are not ready for planting sweet corn either. Henry Stehr said that means don't expect to get locally grown corn for your July 4th celebration.

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