Fruitful Season

Be prepared to make room for New York’s apples and apple products this year.

The 2013 apple crop is strong this season due to more typical weather patterns, industry experts say. Growers will have 25 percent more trees this season and carry more apple varieties compared to last year.

New York Apple Association President Jim Allen said in an April news release, “We know our short crop last year left everyone with a taste for more. We’ll be back soon.”

People can start apple picking at Roger’s Orchard in Johnstown the third week of August, said owner Todd Rogers.

He said his crops are doing well. He said they are “the best crops in the past two years.”

Kenneth Coyne from Bellinger’s Orchard near ?Fultonville, said his crop is “looking good.”

Coyne said, “Most orchards are now struggling to manage the overload of apples on the trees, since nothing was present last year.”

Last year’s devastating frost and early spring diminished the fall harvest to about half its normal size, according to the association.

The industry laid groundwork to come back stronger this year, according to the association’s news release.

Coyne said last year’s crop was sparse and damaged because of hail.

Growers have planted thousands of new trees across the state, which will increase harvests in years ahead, the association says.

Now the state has 25 percent more trees than just a few years ago.

Along with planting favorite apples, growers are planting new varieties as well.

One of these new flavors includes zestar. Rogers Orchard in Johnstown will have this apple.

Bellinger’s Orchard in Fultonville has 28 different varieties, including pink lady, pound sweet and candy crisp, along with granny smith, red delicious and McIntosh.

Next year, Rogers Orchard will have 100 trees with new varieties.

The state has modernized apple-packing equipment and enlarged packing and storage facilities to ensure it has the capacity to handle the future crops.

By now, apple bloom is in full swing,

“So far, this season is textbook perfect,” said Allen.

Apple growers are not appreciating the recent heavy rain, though.

Rogers said fungus grows faster with the excess rain, which means more spray and can be more costly.

The overflow of apples needs to be managed properly as well. If they’re not, some varieties can go biennial. These could lead to a heavy load this year and no apples next year, according to Coyne. Northern spy varieties are common for this.

According to the association, New York is the second-largest apple-producing state in the United States.

The state averages 29.5 million bushels of production annually, according to the association.