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Late Frost Means Few Local Berries at Festival

Late Frost Means Few Local Berries at Festival



Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

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GARDEN CITY, Utah (AP) -- People come from far and wide to attend the Bear Lake Raspberry Days festival near the Idaho border in northeastern Utah.

But something else is traveling a great distance: raspberries. "They're selling California raspberries here. That's funny," said John Whitaker, who drove more than 400 miles from St. George with his wife, Janet Brown.

A late frost devastated the local raspberry crop and the cold also drove away bees that pollinate the bushes. Depending on the field, berries are down 50 percent to 90 percent. "We can't get enough raspberries," said Natoshia Heaton of Sandlilly Ranches, who estimated losses on three fields at 50 percent or more. "Last year, we thought we had a lot of frost damage, but this year is worse."

The festival started Thursday. At the craft fair in Garden City Park, one booth was advertising raspberries, but the owners said they had not arrived yet.

The poor local crop has also made it difficult to find workers who want to pick what's available.

Heaton had hoped to have a few containers to sell Thursday, but pickers hadn't arrived. She expected to have berries by Saturday, the last day of the festival.

Brown and Whitaker had to settle for a small cup of fruit from a general store -- and the berries were not grown in Utah. "I was looking forward to making jam. Were really disappointed," Brown said.

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Information from: The Herald Journal

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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