Just two weeks before harvest, at least 20 percent of Door County’s cherry crop has been damaged by this week’s abnormal hailstorm.
It may be another week before Jim Seaquist fully comprehends the damage at his Sister Bay–area family farm, Seaquist Orchards. Many of his cherries have been bruised, and instead of selling fresh, whole cherries he’ll likely have to process them as juice, which is not as profitable.
“It’s what farmers do, deal with what they’re dealt,” said Seaquist. “This is one more of those situations. We’re happy right now we’ve developed a juice market. This will probably supply some more of that, so, it’s not all bad. It’s not what we’d probably wish for.”
This is the first year that cherry producers have been able to purchase crop insurance, which should help producers recoup some of their losses.
A number of apple orchards in Door County were also affected by the storms.
University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Peninsular Agricultural Research Station lost all of its crops. Matt Stasiak is the superintendent of the 120-acre laboratory in Sturgeon Bay.
“Any crop, whether it was tree fruits, apples, cherries, the grapes, or any of the annual crops, like the corn, it’s been whittled down to the stalks,” he said. “There are no leaves on the corn around the station. Winter wheat was getting close to harvest, that’s been devastated.”
Stasiak says the research station doesn’t insure its crop, so they’ll take a financial loss. He said they’ll know in a week whether they can salvage any of this year’s research and if they’ll have to scrap different projects.