Hail storm leaves apple orchard damaged, worker homeless

GARDNERS, Pa. (WHTM) – Growers at Rice Fruit Company felt mother nature’s impact Monday afternoon.

Company manager Lee Showalter says assessing the damage from yesterday’s hail storm will be difficult.

“It’s not really easy to do because there are varying degrees of hail and it runs from bad to not so bad,” said Showalter. “So there is fruit that has been touched by hail that can still be packed.”

However, the company says severely damaged apples won’t sell as fresh fruit. Instead, it will have to be processed for things like juice. It’s considered a downgrade to growers’ returns.

Less than a mile from the orchard lives a Rice Fruit employee who is dealing with personal damages from the storm.

“You always pray for people this happens to and someday it just happens to you and it’s just devastating,” said Daniel Schaffers as he stood in front of where a tree plummeted on his home.

Schaffers was working when he got the call that it happened.

No one inside was injured but the home is now a total loss.

Despite the damage, Schaffers is remaining optimistic.

Rice Fruit Company and the Red Cross has extended a helping hand to Schaffer and his family.

In the meantime, the company says its day-to-day operations will continue as normal.

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