Warm Winter With Short Arctic Freeze Spells Doom for Some Crops in Mass.

The weather this winter has hurt the outlook for Massachusetts farmers growing certain plants, like peach trees

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It's been a strange and costly winter at Ward's Berry Farm in Sharon, Massachusetts.

Subzero temperatures destroyed the buds on six acres of trees — the peach crop is gone.

"It's troubling to get those extreme weather events," said Jim Ward, whose family has owned farm for 40 years.

Warmer-than-normal winter temperatures, combined with the arctic freeze earlier this month, damaged crops all over.

"When they're not dormant, they're more susceptible to the weather extremes," said crop consultant Patrick Kriksceonaitis. "It really makes a farmer's life difficult, because you can't plan for the extremes."

At the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Sharon, the sap is running to make maple syrup. Still, they're watching the changes in temperature closely.

"When you have 60 degrees, the trees are almost ready to do something else, like thinking about putting leaves out. But if the temperature drops back down again, that will continue the process," said Vin Zollo of Mass Audubon.

Crops like strawberries, raspberries and blueberries at Ward's seems to be in good shape.

"We grow the crops that are suited for here, but the weather doesn't seem to be suited for here anymore," Ward said.

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