Foreign fruit replaces local produce

Foreign fruit replaces local produce
By: Holly Brantley

Foreign fruit for sale at Heartland orchards, signs April's freeze still haunts growers.
Spring's cold snap damaged much of the Heartland's fruit crop.  Apples, peaches, and other fruits were wiped out.
That means growers must get creative to survive the season.  But, despite popular thought, Heartland orchards are open. You can still buy a variety of fruits and other crops. But, you'll just miss out on that locally grown flavor.
Diebold Orchards lost more than 90% of their fruit crop.
"We did have one favorite of apples called 'early gold' that we're saving for early  July. We may have half a crop," said David Diebold. 
But those apples are the exception. "The losses are severe, nobody has any significant quality apples this year," said Diebold.
Most of the fruit at Diebold and other heartland orchards will come from places as far away as California and Washington State.
"I was just on the phone looking for peaches outside the area for Summer," said Diebold. "We'll have fruit, it just won't be our home grown Diebold apples."
But hometown orchards around the area stress they are open for business. And, orchard owners say they'll be picky when it comes to selecting fruit from outside the area.
"I hope our customers understand," said Diebold. "They know our fresh-picked always tastes better.  So, when they are brought in from outside we don't expect the quality to be as good."
Most orchard owners will have to spend what money they have on spraying their trees and letting them heal in time for next year's crop. Berry growers tell Heartland News they'll be able to fully assess their crops in the next few weeks.