Moderate season predicted for Michigan apple crop

For many, the 4th of July weekend marks the middle of the summer but for farmer it means something completely different.

According to 92-year-old apple farmer, Robert Pettengill, July is a â??do or dieâ?? month.

"These right here were planted in '33 this is where we started right here," said Pettengill.

Pettengillâ??s Apple Lane Orchard has grown deep roots in Genesee County but unforgiving Michigan seasons have the ground shrinking beneath his feet.

"We had a thousand trees planted there at one time," said Pettengill.

Up against new diseases, harsh winters and a bee shortage Pettengill, like other fruit farmers has been slowly pulling out of the business.

"If I had a do over I would have downsized sooner and faster," said the long-time farmer.

Now, Michiganâ??s harvest season is on the horizon and despite some setbacks farmers say, Michiganâ??s crop and market prices should be average.

"I think the best for me this time of year is going to be the strawberries," said Bob Bouvier.

A healthy crop this year means places like Apple Lane Orchard will open for another season. Giving Pettengill another year to do what he loves, just on a smaller scale.

"Iâ??ve just had my life invested into the trees. So Iâ??ll keep plugging away at it," said Pettengill.

Strawberry and blueberry farmers say their crop is in better position for a successful year because there wasn't a late freeze. They will know for sure in just a few short weeks.