Frost wipes out juice grapes in SW Michigan

Apr 15, 2012

A devastating frost has wiped out grapes grown for juice in southwestern Michigan. John Jasper, a surveyor for Welch's Foods, tells TV station ABC57 that he went through hundreds of acres before even finding a live bud. He estimates more than 10,000 acres were destroyed Thursday, mostly in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties.

Jasper says Welch's gets approximately 17 percent of its grapes from southwestern Michigan. He says the company could be forced to change recipes for some products.

It's been a nail-biting spring for farmers who grow fruits and vegetables. High temperatures tricked plants and trees into ending their hibernation. Then cold overnight temperatures put much of that new growth at risk.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., says grape growers deserve relief from the government.