Michigan Orchard Using Helicopters, Bonfires to Protect Crops This Weekend
Add this to the list of "things we didn't know before today."
It's not completely unheard of for Mother Nature to drop some snow on Michigan in May, but it definitely creates a lot of problems for those who rely on crops for their income. As my grandmother always used to say, "Cover your tomatoes!"
We'll be experiencing a spring polar vortex this weekend. Basically, cold air is pushing in from Canada and will bring unusually chilly weather to our region for this time of the year. We won't see as much snow as the northeast, but temperatures will easily be 15-25 degrees cooler than they normally are.
Spicer Orchards Farm Market in Fenton is open for curbside service during the pandemic; you can get cider, fudge, wine, hard cider, etc. brought to your car. Obviously, they have to protect their crops during an unexpected freeze - did you know that they use bonfires AND helicopters?!
This was posted to their Facebook page yesterday:
Heads Up - Neighbors of Spicer Orchards—Helicopters and Bonfires on Friday and possibly Monday Night:
On Friday night and possibly next Monday night our area of Michigan is forecast to have a “Spring Polar Vortex” with extreme cold spring weather. Our farm is in various stages of a beautiful spring bloom which means our crop has the potential to experience extreme damage or even total crop loss.
We experienced a similar situation in 2012 when the majority of the East Coast of the US lost its crop and we nearly closed our doors. This is the 2nd time in our history to have such an extreme event. As most of you know, since 2012 we have installed “wind fans” that typically turn on when the temps dip to 35 degrees. These fans usually only run once or twice a year. With a forecast of 4 to 5 nights in row of cold temps, they may run multiple nights this weekend. Two nights have a forecast of 26 and wind chill of 18.
Even with wind fans, this could be a total crop loss event. We are taking rarely used additional steps to save our crop and livelihood. This includes operating a helicopter that will continuously fly over our orchards in an attempt to keep warm air on the ground. We will also have several “manned” bonfires overnight (weather permitting). We wanted to give you a heads up as we know many of you watch out for us and would be concerned. Thank you, neighbors, for watching over our farm all these years and for accepting the additional noise during this abnormal and potentially catastrophic freeze event. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have additional questions.