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Weather & Natural Disasters

2016's weird weather is causing fruit shortages

Peaches grown at Snell Family Farm in Buxton and sold at the Farmers Market at Monument Square in Portland, Maine
John Patriquin | Portland Press Herald | Getty Images

Things aren't peachy in Northeastern orchards this year.

Weird weather so far this year, in part resulting from El Nino, has "completely decimated" stone fruit crops, including peaches, apricots, plums, nectarines and cherries across the northeastern United States. This will likely lead to shortages of these fruits, according to an article in Modern Farmer.

An unusually warm winter starting in 2015 "tricked" many stone fruit trees to bloom earlier this year. In particular, a week of weather around 50 degrees Fahrenheit in February, was one of the warmest winter periods in history.

The trees were "tricked" into blooming early, notes Modern Farmer, only to be blasted by two cold spells weeks later — one in mid-February, and one in April.

Flowers grow into fruit, and when the flower buds were destroyed, the crop essentially went with them. Heavy wind prevented farmers from blowing pockets of warm air above the cold to save the blooms.

Some even lost entire trees. This worsens the problem, since replacing fruit trees is expensive and time consuming — it can take for any fruit tree, stone or otherwise, to mature and begin growing salable fruit.