Columbia County farmer uses helicopters to keep apple trees warm
LIVINGSTON, N.Y. — An area fruit farmer is going to unusual lengths to make sure he has an apple crop in the fall.
Russell Bartolotta and his family have run the Klein’s Kill Fruit farm business in Livingston for some 90 years.
He knows what the cold weather can do to a farmer’s crop so he is using five helicopters to blow warmer air down to his apple orchards to save the sensitive fruit trees as the overnight temperatures drop below freezing.
Bartolotta said the trees are in the petal fall stages, the most sensitive time for them. The temperature inversion will add five to 10 degrees to the orchards to keep them above the 30 degree mark, he said.
The cost of hiring five choppers for two nights is $50,000 to $70,000, he said. It’s an insurance police, an investment that is “well worth it,” he said.
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