Monday, August 27, 2012

Good and bad news for the apple harvest

This year's apple harvest in New England is "bountiful" and early, but meager in the Midwest and elsewhere, according to the Boston Globe.

Globe Corespondent Wesley Lowery writes today that

while New England orchards are enjoying an early harvest, most of the nation’s top apple-growing states have seen their trees decimated by drought and late spring frosts.
Michigan, the nation’s leading apple-picking hub...will produce just 3 million bushels of apples this year, compared with 23 million bushels in a typical year, according to the Michigan Apple Committee.

Lowery visits Shelburne Farm in Stow (Mass.), where Gala is already being picked.

Oliver Levick, who manages Westford Hill Orchard in Westford, told Lowrey, “Pretty much everything, across the board, is coming in early this year.”

There have been similar reports this month throughout the region.

It's not all good news locally, however. In an email last week, the owners of Old Frog Pond Farm (Harvard Mass.) said there would be "no pick-your-own this year."

"Two nights of 26 degrees when the blossoms were ready for pollination destroyed most of the fruit," the owners said. (Old Frog Pond offers many other delights, however; see the farm's web page.)

My personal experience this summer is that things seem right on schedule, and that early fruit has been harvested too soon.

But the clear message from the field is to expect your favorites to be ready early.


  1. The unusually warm winter and spring definitely had an effect on the picking season. Typically apple picking season begins the last week of August in MA but we are about 10 days ahead of schedule. The warm month of March had a profound effect.

    1. Ellen Parlee speakes to us from Parlee Farms in Tyngsboro, Mass.

      Thanks for this news from the field!

  2. Wesley is full of it. "Michigan, the nation’s leading apple-picking hub" Say what?

    1. You know, there are a few things in Lowrey's story that don't add up.

      I figured his Michigan claim was probably true for some oddball definition of "apple-picking." Your link does say that Michigan was "hardest hit."

      Still I enjoyed reading his interviews with apple farmers.


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