This wasn't the worst winter Stan Brown has seen.

The Loganville fruit grower remembers 1986 as the year that killed all of his peach trees.

That winter had temperatures that dipped to minus 15, said Brown, who has been farming for 66 years at Brown's Orchards & Farm Market.

The winter that just passed delivered 42 inches of snow and a few minus 5 days, but they weren't consecutive, according to AccuWeather.

It wasn't enough to kill Brown's peach trees, but it did thin out the crop.

"Peaches are the most vulnerable to winter. We've had some loss on our peach buds," he said.

Brown won't be able to fully measure that loss until the peach trees are in bloom, which could happen a little later this year.

"I'm optimistic. I think our crop will be OK, but the fruit might be a little late this year," he said.

How late is unclear. Some local produce farmers think a few days late, and others think it could be a week.

It certainly won't be like spring two years ago when a mild, warmer winter made the strawberries ready by May 16, Brown said.

"I think it will be a challenge this year to find any before Memorial Day," he said.

Brown is hoping the consistently cold, snowy weather will give way to a consistent spring.

"We don't want buds to wake up with abnormally high temperatures only to be clobbered with a cold spell," he said.

The outlook: The three-month outlook for York County predicts near-normal temperatures in April, May and June, according to Barry Lambert, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Near-normal temperatures here would be a high of 66 and low of 40 in April; high of 76 and low of 49 in May; and high of 84 and low of 59 in June, he said.

After a cool spring last year, the strawberry crop at Barefoot Farm in Dover was ready June 1. That was the latest crop in 12 years, said co-owner David Hartzell.

"This year might be later, but if we get a couple warm spells, who knows?" he said.

One thing he's sure of is the winter didn't hurt his berries.

Barefoot had 4 inches of straw and 6 inches of snow on its berry plants, Hartzell said.

"The snow actually insulates from the cold," he said.

The good news: And growers don't mind the snow, Hartzell said.

"All farmers like a good amount of groundwater," he said.

Brown agreed the wetter winter will be an advantage in the summer.

"Snow is good for the ground. No doubt about it," he said.

But it has put the blossoms and blooms "so far behind," said Julie Flinchbaugh, manager of Flinchbaugh's Orchard and Farm Market in Hellam Township.

"Consumers might be used to seeing strawberries or peaches at a certain time. They may be a week late this year, but it will still be a good crop," she said.

Flinchbaugh's strawberries are usually ready by mid-May, but she thinks they'll be ready around June 1 this year.

"It's hard to estimate because nothing has bloomed or shown signs of blooming," she said.

But Flinchbaugh is optimistic about the spring — even if it's off to a soggy start.

"It's still so wet we can't really work, but April showers bring May flowers," she said.

— Candy Woodall can be reached at