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NYS Apples Will Come Early This Year

Apples will be early.That is the consensus of state apple growers of the crop that got off to perhaps its fastest start in history last spring with record warm April temperatures.The growing season was accelerated even more by a hot, sunny summer.Consumers should be seeing fresh-picked local apples by mid-August in most retail locations. Pick-your-own orchards will also have apples ready in August.The crop is at least 10 days to two weeks earlier than normal across the state.“Consumers will have plenty of our fresh apples for Labor Day picnics and back-to-school lunches this year, that’s for sure,” said Jim Allen, president of the New York Apple Association.Even more good news: Because of abundant sunshine this summer, apples and apple cider will have extra flavor. Sunshine generates higher sugar levels in apples—known as brix levels. Higher brix levels results in sweeter tasting apples and cider.New York apple growers predict the statewide crop will be smaller than last year’s record crop of nearly 33 million bushels. Growers are predicting a crop size of approximately 27 million bushels this year, which will still easily keep New York ranked second in apple production nationwide, behind Washington State.Some orchards had some frost damage this spring, when the trees went into bloom earlier and were vulnerable to a statewide deep freeze in early May.Harvest of early season varieties, like Ginger Gold and Paula Red will begin this week in the Hudson Valley, and within two weeks in Western New York and Central New York. The McIntosh harvest, considered the traditional “kick off” to the apple season, will begin in mid-August in most regions, a little later in the Lake Champlain area. The harvest will last through late October.High demand for ‘home grown’ fruit is driving consumers to fresh New York apples in bigger numbers than ever before, according to retailers and growers. The state’s crop of traditional varieties like McIntosh and Empire look promising, growers said. Popular varieties like Honeycrisp, Gala and Cortland also look good.The annual NYAA crop prediction is determined by a consensus of growers representing six apple growing districts throughout the state. The crop consensus was reached during a conference call held on July 22.The five-year official crop numbers in New York:2009 32.8 million bushels2008 29.8 million bushels2007 31.1 million bushels2006 29.7 million bushels2005 24.7 million bushelsNew York grows apples on 50,370 acres. It ranks second in the nation in apple production.

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