Climate change forces farmers to alter their work and sometimes even what they grow. An apple grower in Pennsylvania has replaced trees with varieties that do better in a warming world.
A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:
Higher temperatures and extreme weather caused by climate change are bringing more risks to the traditional farming schedule. WITF’s Rachel McDevitt visited one Pennsylvania farmer who’s learning to adapt his crop and spread his harvest throughout the year.
RACHEL MCDEVITT, BYLINE: Hugh McPherson reaches up to the branch of a Smoothee gold apple tree and grabs one of the baseball-sized green fruits.
HUGH MCPHERSON: You want to just lift and give a little twist, and it’ll pop off of there. And then these are so good, you can just shine them up on your shirt and take a bite.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHEWING)
MCDEVITT: The fifth-generation farmer grew up around these trees in south-central Pennsylvania. His dad planted the first apple orchards about 30 years ago, with varieties like Rome, Stayman and McIntosh. But now McPherson is looking for different varieties.
MCPHERSON: Really, in the last 10 years is when we’ve strategically been looking at those kind of warmer-season apples.
MCDEVITT: Three decades ago, when winters would get cold and stay cold for months, McIntosh apples did really well here.
MCPHERSON: The McIntosh needs that cold night to put color on it. And in the end, for us, they just started turning so …