October 11, 2011
Vermont’s McIntosh apple harvest is winding down, but Empire, Red Delicious, Northern Spy, Gala and literally dozens of other old and new varieties are still waiting to be picked. Despite a few problems through the season--- ranging from hail, record rainfall and Tropical Storm Irene--- most growers are optimistic that this will be a good year overall.
Vermont’s wholesale apple growers are finding prices significantly higher than in 2010, helping them recoup from a reduced harvest approaching 30 percent from last season. Vermont’s 2011 crop is expected to be 600,000 bushels, a 28 percent drop from the state’s five-year average crop.
Lee Herring, orchard manager for Southern Vermont Orchards in Bennington is pleased with the season so far, saying, “Our crop has good size and great flavor. We’re happy with where we are with this year’s harvest.” David Boyer, owner of Boyer’s Orchard and Cider Mill in Monkton, a pick-your-own and farmstand orchard, expects his harvest to run for another two weeks. “We’re satisfied with the season,” he said.
Steve Justis, Executive Director of the Vermont Tree Fruit Growers Association, the state’s apple producers’ organization, is satisfied with where the industry is at this point in the season. “We’ve escaped any major harvest labor challenges this season, and despite the extreme weather conditions we saw through the summer, we’re generally okay with the season. We’re looking forward to a couple of weeks of cool sunny weather to finish off the pick-your-own and farmstand sales, as well as for the wholesale producers.”
The Vermont Tree Fruit Growers Association, founded in 1896 as the Vermont State Horticultural Society, represents Vermont’s commercial apple growers. According to New England Agricultural Statistics, the average value of Vermont’s apple crop between 2005 and 2009 was $14.168 million.
Source: Agency of Agriculture
Last Updated at: October 11, 2011 08:00:59