Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Breaking News

Local News

April 27, 2013

Chilly reception

While the recent cooler weather may have been nice for you, some area growers are suffering

ATHENS — Growers of tender crops such as blueberries and peaches were hit with huge losses by unseasonable cold weather that penetrated deep into Texas this week.

Henderson County Extension Agent Rick Hirsch has been talking to fruit producers and getting devastating reports.

“The loss to blueberries is huge, maybe 50 to 60 percent of the crop,” Hirsch said.

According to the National Weather Service Cooperative Observer at Athens Municipal Airport, the overnight low was 73 degrees on April 18. The thermometer peaked at 86 that afternoon before a cold front dropped the April 19 morning low to 35 degrees. The following day the low was just above freezing at 34 degrees.

Ivan Vaseleniuck, owner Echo Springs Blueberry Farm near Brownsboro, said the cold destroyed more than 50 percent of his early berry crop. Other producers in the area sustained similar losses, he said.

“Everybody got hurt down here, right down to San Antonio,” Vaseleniuck said. “When you lose any more than 35 percent of your crop you’re losing money.”

This is only the second time in his 13 years in the area that he’s suffered losses to his crop.

“The first time, which was four years ago, I didn’t lose 20 percent,” Vaseleniuck said.

Because of the damage, Vaseleniuck has had to cut his staff from five employees to three.

“I’ve got to try to recoup by reducing expenses,” Vaseleniuck said. “I don’t know any other way.”

Vaseleniuck explained that he has three types of blueberries at Echo Springs. The first crop, Climax, is pretty well wiped out. The second, Brightwell, also has damage.

“But I can see good berries in there, too,” Vaseleniuck said.

“You’ve still got to go out and fertilize. You’ve still got to go out and put chemicals on. You’ve got to do what you can to reduce your losses,” he said. “I don’t know what my total losses will be until the end of the year.”

In addition to the fruits that were in bloom, farmers and homeowners had to re-plant a lot of tomatoes and truck crops such as watermelons, Hirsch said. Tommy Morse of Murchison reports that he lost 20 acres of watermelons he’d transplanted from a hothouse.

“We put them out on a Friday and by Monday they were gone,” Morse said. “I’ve been doing it 45 years and I’ve never had them killed this late.”

Morse said he’ll plant some melon seeds and see if they come up, but even if that’s successful he won’t be seeing melons until mid-July.

“Last year, by the fourth of July, I was through with melons,’ Morse said. “This year, I doubt if I’ll have any by the 15th of July.”

Robert Burns, Communication Specialist with the Texas Agrilife Extension regional office in Overton, said East Texas peach growers fared better than their Hill Country counterparts.

“We just didn’t get the hard freeze here like they did in Central Texas,” Burns said.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Eatery upset

    Jennifer Brown, Manager of Vetoni's Italian Restaurant, took the opportunity to speak to the Gun Barrel City Council during a regularly-scheduled council meeting on Tuesday evening.

    April 24, 2014

  • Eatery upset

    Jennifer Brown, Manager of Vetoni's Italian Restaurant, took the opportunity to speak to the Gun Barrel City Council during a regularly-scheduled council meeting on Tuesday evening.

    April 24, 2014

  • 4-24 KATHY MELTON.JPG Blind since birth, Kathy Melton is a talented piano player

    “The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart” - Helen Keller
    Kathy Melton, of Eustace, has not let being blind stop her from her love of music. Blind since birth, she got her first piano at the young age of four. 

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0195.jpg WFAA Channel 8 kicks off series from city hall

    If you see a few more folks from the Dallas-Fort Worth area at Railway Cafe in Athens over the next couple of weeks, thank WFAA.
    Good Morning Texas, an ABC morning show for WFAA Channel 8 out of Dallas, was in Athens Wednesday to kick-off the “Europe, Texas” series.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Help end child abuse in Henderson County

    Child abuse is a community problem that can take many forms including emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse and verbal abuse. But what people don’t realize is that a little awareness goes a long way to prevent child abuse.
    In a continual effort to fight child abuse, the Henderson County District Attorney's office, County Attorney's office and the Henderson County Sheriff's Department is once again asking everyone to wear blue to raise awareness.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • HC Gwen moffeit.jpg Longtime county clerk Gwen Moffeit looks ahead to retirement

    Henderson County Clerk Gwen Moffeit has been in her new office at the Henderson County Courthouse Annex for about three years, but so many memories still live in the century old building across the street.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif AISD school bus collides with pickup

    A collision involving an Athens Independent School District bus carrying 41 children happened at 7:10 a.m., Wednesday.
    According to one of the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol Troopers that investigated the incident, the collision took place about 1/2 mile down State Highway 31 West from Athens.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-23 RODEO_03.JPG Rodeo time in Athens

    It's rodeo time in Athens as the 29th annual Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Stampede Rodeo is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 25-26.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Malakoff ISD adding school bus

    The Malakoff Independent School District approved the purchase of a new bus during Monday's school board meeting.
    By unanimous decision, the board approved the purchase of a bus for $94,199, with funds from the Henderson County Shared Services Agreement.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • dwayne garner003.jpg Support veterans

    The Cedar Creek Lake Veterans Foundation is gearing up for this year's air show — Thunder Over Cedar Creek Lake. This is the 11th annual event to be held on Saturday, July 5 at Cedar Creek Lake.
    The event will start with a benefit golf tournament on Monday, May 12 at Pinnacle Golf Club.

    April 23, 2014 3 Photos

AP Video
Twitter Updates