Cold Winter, Cool Spring Bring Mixed Results For Lehigh Valley, N.J. Farmers

English: Apples on an apple-tree. Ukraine. Рус...

English: Apples on an apple-tree. Ukraine. Русский: Яблоня со спелыми плодами. Украина. Latina: Malus domestica (Borkh., 1803) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This winter’s cold temperatures that stuck around until late spring have curbed apple production at one local orchard, although local vineyards say the grapes are some of the best they’ve ever seen.

Tianna DuPont, an educator for sustainable agriculture at the Penn State Cooperative Extension, said the growing season started out about three weeks late, although recent warm weather is helping plants catch up.

Matty Matarazzo, the owner of Four Sisters Winery in White Township, expects a smaller than usual yield of apples this year. He said they’ll grow enough for the winery’s apple wine but not an abundant amount.

Bob Best, of Bests Fruit Farm in Independence Township, said the cool spring threatened his crops initially, but once the weather warmed up the produce started to grow.

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Spirits Rising Between The Finger Lakes

New York's Finger Lakes. Lying below Lake Onta...

New York’s Finger Lakes. Lying below Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes formed in tunnel valleys. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OVID, NY — For more than 30 years, John Myer has farmed the ridge above Cayuga Lake and has seen the passing traffic from winery to winery grow each year.  His corn, wheat and soybeans wind up as flour, tofu and animal feed, not part of the burgeoning trade in locally made beverages.

No longer.

This fall, John and his brother Joe opened the tasting room of Myer Farm Distillers, where guests — many already undoubtedly cruising the Cayuga and Seneca wine trails — can sample spirits made on the farm from grains grown there.

Selling vodka, gin and clear, unaged whiskey — and with plans for aged spirits, including bourbon — Myer Farm is the second stand-alone artisan distillery to open in the southeastern Finger Lakes in the past five years.  The first was Finger Lakes Distilling in Hector, which opened in 2009 and has since released its first aged whiskies to critical acclaim and built its off-premises sales to account for half its revenue.

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