Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Weak apple season prepares to end early

The apple crop is down, and some Massachusetts orchards have been hit really hard, due to last spring's early heat wave and late frost.

That's not exactly news to anyone who has been talking to the farmers this year, but yesterday it was documented by Kathleen Pierce in the Boston Globe:

a good number of apple growers across New England are trying to make the best of a season that started early, and is about to end the same way. And stores that buy apples wholesale say they are attempting to avoid big prices increases for customers at a time of year when the fruit is supposed to be plentiful and cheaper.

Pierce talks to some familiar growers, and the story is not pretty. Carlson, a huge operation in Harvard, lost half its crop this year. The Globe quotes Frank Carlson:

“We had a freeze-and-frost combination just when those buds were sensitive.”

A few miles away Phil's (map), master of sweet cider and bare-bones ambiance, lost nine apples out of ten. Phil is only pressing cider one day a week, according to a similar story by the Associated Press.

Overall, Massachusetts got off easy (crop down 15–20%) compared to New York (off 40%) and Michigan (85% lost!).

However, the shortfall is driving up the price of apples and cider both locally and nationally.

Sounds like we'll be switching over to those supermarket Washington State apples early this winter. (Washington's crop was more or less unscathed.)

It's not unusual to see apple stories in the news this time of year, but the Globe dignifies the topic by reporting this news in its business section.

I only wish the news were better, for Carleson, Phil (ouch!) and all of us.


  1. The weather throughout the whole year really plays a role in the apple crop. Unfortunately there were some setbacks this year. Hopefully next year things will turn around!

    1. I heartily hope so too, Ellen.

      By the way, what apples have you got this week? Or are you done?


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