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Challenging start for apple crop

New York Apple Sales, a leading apple grower, packer, marketer and shipper of New York state apples, said spring in the state was certainly a challenge for trees.

Following last year’s larger crop and dryer growing season, trees went into dormancy in a stressed condition. As a result, this spring trees have a weaker return bud and then bloom.

The company pointed out that although there was good pollination weather, some varieties have a weaker set.

koru2 As of mid-June, the jury was still out on any sound predictions on the overall crop size. On June 25, the Premier Apple Cooperative annual meeting is scheduled where better crop information will be reported. The meeting, held in Syracuse, NY, is attended by growers from across the East.

Kaari Stannard , owner of New York Apple Sales and partner with Lake Ontario Fruit and Pomona Packing, said, “Each spring causes us all to worry and be concerned over the upcoming crop. Mother Nature continues to control our destiny. Fortunately, we have the benefit of representing growers from  across the state to help us to be consistent with our supplies. Despite the less-than-perfect spring, we do feel very good about the crop and we know that our growers will provide us with the best apples to market.”

Joel Crist of Crist Bros. in Walden, NY, chimed in, saying “As of now [June 13], we are not seeing any major skips or holes in the 2019 crop. We have a great opportunity with this crop, but as always we are cautiously optimistic as harvesting is still months away.”

Other growers across New York have similar comments. Jason Woodworth of Lamont Fruit Farms in Waterport, NY, said he is excited about the SweeTango set.

“We are off to a great start with our SweeTango crop,” he said. “The return bud and bloom were excellent and conditions fantastic. Because of our newer plantings and growing systems, we have the potential to produce a  high color and good-sized SweeTango crop in 2019.”

Rod Farrow of Fish Creek is highly impressed with the KORU bloom.

“KORU production continues to increase each year,” offered Farrow. “This is a super new apple that has great potential. We are optimistic about this year’s crop so far.”

In Wayne County, apple grower Paul Wafler said the bloom this spring has been spotty. “We’ve had good bee activity and just enough sunny days to give us a good start,” he said.

Jay Toohill of Chazy Orchards in Chazy, NY, said the company is excited about the Honeycrisp variety.

“The Honeycrisp is a tough apple to grow,” he explained. “Getting the right amount of bloom and pollination plays a major role in the success of the crop.”

Growers across the state are also reporting that other new varieties such as SnapDragon and RubyFrost, and popular favorites like the Gala, Fuji and McIntosh are all shaping up for great crops. Classic varieties, including Cortland, Empire and Red and Golden Delicious also look strong this season.

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