ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – We’ll get the good news out of the way first: This year’s apple crop at Eckert’s Farm in the Metro-East will unlikely be affected by our unusual winter weather.
Chris Eckert admits the fate of other crops is less certain because the mild weather could still give way to colder temperatures. He’s the president and seventh generation operator of Eckert’s Farm, which got its start nearly two centuries ago.
“The trees know no difference between February and March. If it’s 70 degrees, they’ll start coming back to life,” he says.
Eckert says the weird winter weather has fooled peaches, strawberries and blackberries to start developing about a month earlier than normal, making them more susceptible to any cold snaps.
“Our peach buds have started to swell and come back to life. They’ve gotten more sensitive to the cold weather, so instead of being able to tolerate temperatures of five degrees, 10 degrees, we’re more in the range of 15 to 20 degrees,” he says. “So if it gets below 20 degrees, we would be concerned about peaches at this point in time. Blackberries are a crop that we’re especially concerned about.”