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Points North, Ep. 22: Climate change and fruit farming

Cherry canker has prevented this sweet cherry tree from fruiting this year. The blossoms in the foreground are an attempt by the tree to reproduce after the spring blossoms were destroyed by the infection.
Peter Payette
/
Interlochen Public Radio
Cherry canker has prevented this sweet cherry tree from fruiting this year. The blossoms in the foreground are an attempt by the tree to reproduce after the spring blossoms were destroyed by the infection.

This week on Points North, how climate change is causing diseases to thrive in Michigan’s fruit crops. Plus, winemakers Up North pursue more disease-resistant grapes.

 

Climate trends harming fruit growers
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Credit Peter Payette / Interlochen Public Radio
This tart cherry has been defoliated by leaf spotting. It is unlikely the cherries will ripen with so few leaves on the tree.

There’s more precipitation in Michigan than there was 50 years ago. This year, fruit growers have their hands full with diseases that thrive in wet conditions that may become more common as the planet warms. 

Hear about the effects of climate change on fruit crops Up North.

Search for the perfect grape vine
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Credit Peter Payette / Interlochen Public Radio
Grape vines at Chateau Chantal on Old Mission Peninsula.

Before he died, Mark Johnson from Chateau Chantal launched an effort to find grapes that are well suited for the climate in Michigan and require less chemicals to fight fungus. Vinters hope vines they brought back from Germany will do just that. 

 

web_wine_grapes_2-way_edit.mp3
IPR’s Peter Payette talks about winemakers’ efforts to grow more disease-hardy grapes.

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Morgan Springer is a contributing editor and producer at Interlochen Public Radio. She previously worked for the New England News Collaborative as the host/producer of NEXT, the weekly show which aired on six public radio station in the region.