SOUTH GLASTONBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Another 90-plus degree day has Connecticut farmers once again feeling the heat.
At Bussa Orchard, the cold temperatures virtually wiped out its peaches and pears. Now, the heat is threatening apples.
The orchard’s owner said he’ll be lucky to break even this year.
“Farmers, basically in a year like this, are paying to go to work,” said Doug Bussa, the owner of Bussa Orchards.
This year has proven stressful and strenuous for Connecticut farmers. First, it was the frost. Then, it was historic flooding.
“The freestanding trees, a lot of them fell over because the ground was so saturated,” Bussa said.
Now, a potential heatwave is bringing near triple-digit days in September.
“Apples like a cool nights and sunny days, not summertime temperatures,” Bussa said.
The South Glastonbury site has been around for more than a century. The orchard has 25 acres of apples that are sold wholesale to local grocery stores.
Bussa said the hot temperatures are giving them more work and less crop.
“It can affect the color on the apples and make the ripening quicker so we will have multiple varieties ready at the same time and tough to get them all picked,” Bussa said.
Over in Middlefield, Lyman Orchards is currently offering pick-your-own. John Lyman, the orchard’s executive vice president, said it’s in good shape as long as the hot weather doesn’t stick around.
“When you get up into the 90s, that’s almost too hot, but it doesn’t impact them if it’s just for a few days,” Lyman said.
And while Connecticut’s extreme hot weather protocol is in effect, farmers are forced to continue their manual labor through the heat.
“Drink lots of water, stay hydrated. Don’t push yourself,” Lyman said.
Bussa said his workers have been drinking water and trying to take an extra nap.
Bussa said the red delicious apples color easily, but there will still be some green stripes. There’s a week or two until the apples are fully in season and the weather is expected to cool down.