Minnesota and Wisconsin apple growers report good growing conditions as of mid-May.

Growers have enjoyed an early, excellent bloom this season, according to a news release from Elgin, Minn.-based Wescott Orchards, a member of the 26-grower Mississippi Valley Fruit Co.

"Mother Nature, of course, always plays a role, but all signs right now point to a strong growing season over the summer and early fall," Fred Wescott, Wescott Orchards" president, said in the release.  

Reports from several orchards in southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin confirm that apple trees across the region suffered little damage this winter, Wescott said.

"Compared to 2012 and 2013, this past winter was more moderate. Temperature swings were less severe, posing much less of a winter survival challenge for crops that depend on consistent temperature ranges."

Wescott Orchards expect to kick off the 2015 harvest season with Zestars Aug. 25.