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Farmers embrace the hot, dry weather as sweet corn, plums, and other fruits and vegetables flourish

The hot weather may not be for everyone, but a manager at Cherry Hill Orchards says it's great for produce, fruits, and plants, which could be good for your wallet.

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — The high temperatures we've seen in Central Pennsylvania may not be for everyone, but some local farmers are embracing this summer's heat.

Workers are watering around the clock at Cherry Hill Orchards in Pequea Township, Lancaster County.

"Yes," laughed Phyllis Shenk, who has worked as a manager at the outlet for 40 years. "We have to water all day."

When Shenk first started working at Cherry Hill Orchards, the boss said the weather would vary. 

Shenk didn't believe him.

"When I first came here to work in the late 70's, the boss told me, 'no two years are alike,'" she says. "I thought, 'they can't be that different.' Yes, they are. They're very different."

This year, Shenk says, she welcomed the hot, dry weather.

"Sunshine and 90 plus degrees, I would say, make people cranky but make fruit sweet," she joked. "They say, 'ah it's so hot. Ah, it's so hot.' Well, the peaches are sweeter!"

Some customers at Cherry Hill agree.

"I don't mind the heat," says Suzanne Curry, a regular at the orchard. "I was born and raised in the south, so the heat doesn't bother me so much."

This year, people may notice an abundance of other fruits too.

"We weren't sure what the plum and apricot crop would be, but we're saying we're plum crazy!" Shenk laughs.

Cherry Hill Orchards is selling six different types of plums.

"We haven't had that many plums in at least 10 years," says Shenk.

The heat and sun has been great for the plants on the property. The weather is also helping customers' wallets.

"Supply and demand: Last week, we had corn on special," explains Shenk. "We had five corn patches come together. We planted two weeks apart so we have a continuous supply of corn. Well, with that heat, a lot came together. We had to put it on special. We can't store it."

"The produce is outstanding and so are the cookies," laughed Curry.

Many PA farmers report a later than usual crop of sweet corn; though, they say the quality is very good.

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