Small Orchards Struggle to Keep Dry

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MEXICO - Sandy Binder is determined not to let this week's rain get her further off schedule. Early apples are in bloom at Binder's Hilltop Apple and Berry Farm, but Binder says she's not entirely optimistic about this spring. Binder says that the weather seems like it has gotten steadily worse over the past few years and it's putting small farms like hers at risk.

"Ever since that real cold snap, things haven't gone that well," Binder said, referring to the first week of April in 2007, when freezing temperatures killed peach and apple crops across the state. "That April, we lost almost all of our crops and things have gone downhill ever since."

Binder says she does not plan to replant crops that she has lost. She is retired, but she says she's working harder then ever on her farm and orchard. Her time is split between shearing alpacas and preparing fruit for the picking. However, recent rain patterns over the weekend have thrown off her schedule. She expressed concern that if rains prevent her from spraying her crops, they will suffer cedar apple rust, like they did last year.

David Patton, a lifelong resident of Mexico says that it's not only the farmers who are affected by the weather. He says it's affected how he plants his yard.

"This winter was worse then any winter we've had it seems like," Patton said. "Last week it was 80 and last weekend on Saturday, it was 30. This time of the year it shouldn't be like that."

Both Patton and Binder say they have seen less farmers in the area and say that the inconsistent weather is at least partially to blame.