Apple growers across New York state describe near perfect May weather for bloom and pollination activities, setting up expectation for a strong 2018 crop. ( Courtesy New York Apple Sales )

Apple grower-shippers in New York report a promising bloom set up by near perfect weather throughout the state in May.

“Following last year’s below average apple crop and a normal winter, trees this spring responded with healthy and hearty buds that produced a fantastic bloom,” Kaari Stannard, president of Glenmont-based New York Apple Sales Inc., said in a news release. Warm May weather was ideal for pollination, she said.

New York Apple Sales' growers from across the state described a positive outlook for their apple crops.

“As of now, we are not seeing any skips or holes in the 2018 crop,” Jeff Crist, partner in Crist Bros., Walden, N.Y., said in the release. “We have a great opportunity with this crop, but as always we are cautiously optimistic, as it is a long time before harvest.”

Jason Woodworth of Lamont Fruit Farms, Waterport, N.Y., sees lots of potential for this season’s crop of SweeTango apples.

“We are off to a great start with our SweeTango crop. We had an excellent return bud and bloom, and the conditions were fantastic,” Woodworth said in the release. “Because of our newer plantings and growing systems, we have the potential to produce the highest-color and best-sized SweeTango crop ever.”

New York Apple Sales is one of two New York companies authorized by Next Big Thing to market SweeTango apples in select markets.

Growers also describe a great start to the growing season for up-and-coming varieties such as Koru, EverCrisp, SnapDragon and RubyFrost, as well as for more established varieties like Honeycrisp, gala, fuji, mcintosh, cortland, empire, red and golden delicious, according to the release.


New hires, new line

New York Apple Sales has also hired two new staff members, according to the release.

Zach O’Keefe started in April as production and logistics support at the Glenmont office, and will work with production and logistics manager Mike Messler.

Chelsea Van Acker was hired to help coordinate food safety, grower audits and compliance issues in the orchards and packinghouses, working with director of field services Matt Wells. She started in May.

Another development for New York Apple Sales is the expansion of the packing operation at Albion, N.Y.-based Lake Ontario Fruit, which is installing a new primary packing line, according to the release.

The new line will be ready in time for harvest this fall, said John Russell, manager of Lake Ontario Fruit, in the release.

“Updating and adding new equipment is always needed in this business, to be more efficient and more productive to remain competitive in the market. We installed a second full capacity line just a few years ago” he said.