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Apples and cider will be super sweet this year. That is the consensus of state apple growers of the crop that got off to a wet start last spring but has been basking in sun all summer. The abundance of sun means apples will have higher sugar content, or brix levels.
“Sunny weather means sweeter fruit, and happy apple eaters,” said Jim Allen, president of the Fishers, N.Y.-based New York Apple Association (NYAA), whose member-growers are expected to have “a strong, tasty crop…and plenty of apples in the marketplace before anyone else. Consumers are going to be delighted with our quality this year,” Allen added.
Consumers should be seeing fresh-picked local apples in the next couple weeks in some lower Hudson Valley locations. Orchards in other parts of the state will have fresh crop apples later in August. The season will get underway in earnest in early September when the McIntosh variety is picked, while the harvest will last through late October or early November.
The crop is pretty much right on time, despite a slower start to bloom in the spring due to heavy rains, according to Empire State growers, who predict the statewide crop will be at or near last year’s crop size of approximately 30.3 million bushels. That number will still easily keep New York ranked second in apple production nationwide behind Washington State.
Early season varieties, like Jersey Mac and Tydeman will be the first apples off the New York trees. Later in August, growers will pick Ginger Gold and Paula Red, sometimes called “The Girls of Summer.” The McIntosh harvest, considered the traditional “kick off” to the apple season, will begin in early September in most regions, a little later in the Lake Champlain area.
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. High demand for homegrown fruit is driving consumers to fresh New York apples in bigger numbers than ever before, according to retailers and growers.
More and more data from the world’s top research institutions are proving that apples really do help keep the doctor away, which is also helping move apples off the produce shelves in record numbers. “Apples are a tasty and convenient way for families to enjoy a healthy snack,” Allen said.