STURGEON BAY - Hopes are high this season for a bumper crop of Door County cherries and apples.
Buds are all that have formed on many trees. At this time last year, many cherry blossoms were already open.
The early spring ended up spelling disaster for Door County's cherry crop.
And producers say the apple crop was simply average.
Growers we talked to say this year already looks better than last.
Kris Robertson says a good way to predict how well the season will be, is to look at the cherry buds.
"They're nice and green inside," said Kris Robertson, Robertson Orchard owner.
Robertson and his son Skipp run the family orchard near Sturgeon Bay.
Robertson says a late spring is a good thing.
"We got a good snow cover now, so that helps insulate everything, and as long as the frost goes out of the ground, and the moisture goes straight down, we don't want the runoff," said Robertson.
It's a far cry from last year. Warm temperatures in March and April led to an early bloom. Spring frost finished off much of the crop.
"The county usually makes 10-11 million pounds and this year it was under a million. I had probably 5 percent of a crop," said Robertson.
Robertson says he didn't sell any pick-your-own cherries.
"They actually had a year off, so the trees should be pretty healthy. They weren't stressed out with a big crop or anything. So hopefully it will be better than the average last year," said Robertson.
The apple crop fared better.
"These are all going to develop into flowers," said Steve Wood, Wood Orchard owner.
Steve Wood says he harvested 50-to-60 percent of the apples on his 150 acres of orchards.
Crews have been clipping apple branches for about a month.
"The snow is lingering on, and it is still cold at night, below freezing and probably underneath the snow the ground is cold, so that tells the trees, the roots, it's still wintry out, don't start growing too soon," said Wood.
In the meantime growers say they are hoping for the best.
"We hope last year was a once in a lifetime event," said Wood.
"It can only be better than last year," said Robertson.
Cherry trees in Door County should blossom around Memorial Day if all is on track.
Tourism officials say Door County is the fourth largest cherry producing region in the country, with about 2,000 acres of cherry orchards.
Capital Credit Union is offering to match donations made to Salvation Army red kettles in the Fox Valley on Friday.
With just two weeks until Christmas, the Postal Service says it's heading into its busiest times. But are folks still sending letters of holiday cheer?
The cold weather this week has people thinking of the area's homeless population.
The large downtown fire in Ripon Wednesday is having a widespread effect.
UW-Oshkosh's third biodigester to create green energy is now officially open.
Fire destroyed a house in Kewaunee County Wednesday afternoon.