DOOR COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) - Governor Walker is asking for federal aid to make up for this year's unpredictable weather conditions. He's seeking a federal agriculture disaster declaration to help farmers who suffered losses this spring and summer.
Walker's office said the statewide fruit crop losses could be as high as 80%. That's especially tough to swallow in Door County, which is one of the top cherry-producing regions in the United States.
This year's dismal harvest leaves cherry grower Bob Lautenbach with a heavy heart.
"Every morning I go out and take a ride and hope more cherries show up and they never do," he said.
Lautenbach farms nearly a hundred acres of cherries for Orchard Country Winery & Market in Fish Creek.
"We'll probably have between a 10% to 20% of the normal crop here this year," said Lautenbach. "Usually this time of year, every tree in the orchard is just a sea of red and now you might have one tree that has cherries on it. The next five or six trees have no cherries on."
According to the Door County Cherry Growers Association, a crop of only 700,000 pounds is expected this season. That's down considerably from the 12 million pounds that typically come out of Door County each year.
Because the crop will be so small, Lautenbach said all the cherries grown here will stay here, instead of being sold to national companies.
"We're going to keep all the cherries local and utilize them in whatever products we make here," he added. "Also for the locals and the tourists who come here for the county the cherries."
And so far, tourists have not been disappointed. The market is stocked with cherry-flavored products made from last year's crop.
"There's still other types of wine and things like that to enjoy up here," said Todd Montsma, a tourist from Iowa. "It's just the place really."
Lautenbach said the pick-your-own cherry option will be brief this year, but he's hoping everyone is still able to enjoy a little taste of Door County.