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      Early bloom means big risk for growers

      Mother nature has given us an early spring and it doesn't seem like anyone is complaining about it, especially farmers.

      "The bloom is coming very early this year, it's way ahead of normal," Jim Zellerman, co-owner of Edgewood Orchards said.

      The early spring weather has brought bees out ready to pollinate but what does the early bloom mean for crops?

      "It means a better crop," Zellerman said."Last year the spring bloom period was very wet and cold, it occurred a lot later than this so we thought it would be good but it was very rainy and very wet and very windy and the bees which are out working today couldn't get out and work very well last year."

      The early spring weather has the potential for a great season but there are risks.

      "In 2007 we had a freeze that came on April 7th and temperatures dropped to 19 degrees and we lost the whole crop and April 7th is still in the future," Zellerman said. "So is there risk blooming this early, absolutely."

      There isn't much farmers can do to prepare for a frost, except wait.

      "We're at the hand of mother nature and just hopping for the best," Zellerman said.

      And if hoping is all that can be done, then it's a good thing Edgewood is owned by an optimist.

      "But I like to think of the bright side too," Zellerman said. "There is the potential of something very good out of this too ... as long as it stays warm."