Metro-East apple orchards helped by hurricane
Belleville, Ill. – People who run apple orchards in the Metro East-area a hurricane helped save their crops during this dry summer. It's been one of the driest summers on record in Illinois.
Most other crops have withered. But orchard owners say the rainfall that soaked the Metro East after Hurricane Dennis struck the Gulf Coast in July has been a big help.
Parts of southern Illinois received more than five inches of rain from remnants of that hurricane; those storms never reached northern parts of the state.
One orchard owner in Belleville, Jim Eckert, concedes the hurricane was a disaster for some along the coast. But he calls it a blessing for him because it provided nourishment for his trees at a critical time.
Many of the orchards expect to open their gates to pickers in about two weeks.