Early warmth, spring frost cut expected Eastern apple crop volume

08/24/2012 03:50:00 PM
Jim Offner

“I think the percent of overall total apple crop might be close, but what percentage of the crop we have that goes into the fresh market is the number we’re trying to get our arms around,” he said.

Elsewhere, growers were counting their blessings.

“I have to say that from our standpoint, we’ve had a guardian angel over us this year,” said John Rice, vice president of Gardners, Pa.-based Rice Fruit Co., which estimates 95% of its crop to be in “pristine” condition.

Geography saved Rice’s fruit, he said.

“We’re in south-central Pennsylvania, and all of our orchards are up on hills of what we call South Mountain, the easternmost ridge of the Appalachians,” he said.

The Mid-Atlantic area largely escaped frost damage, said David Benner, general manager of Fairfield, Pa.-based El Vista Orchards.

“We’re fortunate to have a good crop of apples on the trees at this point, and quality seems to be good on the crop,” he said.

Virginia growers had to cope with a days-long power outage associated with a storm that blew through the Washington, D.C., area July 4.

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