Local peach farmer feels the impact from polar vortex

EAU CLAIRE, Mich. (WNDU) - The polar vortex had a damaging impact on one fruit farm in southwestern Michigan. Farmer Bill Teichman said he is still feeling the aftermath.

Teichman has been farming since a little boy. He currently runs Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm in Eau Claire.

Teichman said this is not the first time he has lost crops.

“In 1974, we lost our peaches and our trees … In 2012, we lost our peach crop. You know, it's the gamble we are all aware of,” Teichman said.

Extension Tree Fruit Specialist at Michigan State University Dr. William Shane said tree fruit orchards and vineyards in some areas of Michigan were damaged by low temperatures this past January. Those bone-chilling temperatures completely killed Teichmans’ peaches, apricots and plums.

“We had 22 below here and that weather system did not come over Lake Michigan, which normally warms up weather like that,” Teichman said.

Some of Teichman's tree trunks have cracks and will need to be replaced.

“The sap in the tree goes down into the trunk, into the roots. Depending on how cold it gets, the tree will harden off, but it didn't have enough time to harden off for 22 below,” Teichman said.

He said he could lose around $120,000.

“Our crops are insured. I don't know how much we'll make back or be reimbursed,” Teichman said.

Though Teichman said the losses are disappointing, he is optimistic about the future.

He is currently growing a lot of young trees and said when things go right, it is incredibly rewarding.

“We have a customer base that likes what we do and likes coming out into the country and picking their own fruit, and that's what keeps you going,” Teichman stated.

He said apples and cherries are for sale this season.