GASPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) - It may already be too late to save much of this year's local fruit harvest.
Cherry-lovers, you're already out of luck. An early spring, and successive hard freezes have decimated western New York's so-called "stone fruits."
Becker Farms owner Oscar Vizcarra said, "The commercial crop, as we know it, is already basically gone in this particular area."
"It won't be an economical crop. Maybe the pick-your-own crop will be much better, so people can come and pick their own cherries. That might be something that we can look into," he added.
Becker Farms in Gasport has already lost about two-thirds of its cherry buds, making this the worst season in all of Vizcarra's 35 years of growing.
"I've never seen anything like that. We are, like, three to four weeks ahead of schedule. It's very uncharted territory," he said.
The shortage has left area farmers' markets scrambling not only to find replacements for the local cherry, peach, and apricot crops - but for a way to keep the prices from spiraling upward.
Lancaster Farm Market executive director Ann Jordan said, "We will have cherries here from out-of-state, which may be a local producer just across the border in Pennsylvania. So our price is not going to be way out of sight."
Later-blooming fruits such as grapes, strawberries, and the big seller around here - apples - are okay for now. But they, too, could suffer if the weather stays out-of-wack, since they need the help of honey bees to pollinate.
"It's about timing. It really makes a difference. Even if we have the blossoms, the bees may not be able to get to them, because they'll only last a couple days. In these up-and-down temperatures, the bees aren't going to be out for six weeks," Jordan said.
Leaving growers and merchants alike to play the wait-and-see game.
Vizcarra said, "Maybe in two weeks, we really will know the truth, once the bloom opens up. Then we'll really know how bad it is."
If you'll recall, last year's sweet cherry crop was basically nonexistent. Which means, on a slightly more positive note, you can expect to pay - ballpark - about the same price for cherries this year, as you did last.
A jury has convicted 16-year-old Dylan Schumaker of second degree murder in the death of his girlfriend's young son.
Police say a Mercedes Benz was making a left turn, when it failed to yield the right of way and struck the police car.
Police in Orleans County say they found 43 bags of crack cocaine inside a vehicle on South Main Street, in Albion, on Friday.
Slippery spots today, lakes become more active through the middle of the week.
A Buffalo city jail cell block attendant was arrested early Saturday morning on multiple animal cruelty charges.