Apple Harvest Looking Good

The Recorder, September 6th, 2015, by Chris Curtis

David Shearer of Pine Hill Orchards in Colrain said that where his 70-acre orchard usually yields 30 bushels of apples — 35 in a really good year — he expects 40 this year.

“A lot of it because they’ve sized up pretty well. Big apples fill the bins a lot faster than smaller apples,” Shearer said.

Apple orchards around New England are anticipating exceptional harvests and Franklin County is no exception.

Shearer called the crop tremendous. It was hot in Colrain when the trees bloomed, and Shearer said they were worried the blossoms wouldn’t stay on, but weather cooled enough, the bees did their pollination work and rain came about as it was needed, although it has dried out recently.

Shearer said the orchard is just finishing the peach harvest, also good this year, began picking apples this week and opened for pick-your-own.
At Apex Orchards in Shelburne, owner Tim Smith had about the same to say. He plans to start picking McIntosh and Gala apples this week and open the orchard for pick-your-own this weekend.

“I think it’s going to be a very heavy crop this year. I think maybe where we were at 100 percent of a crop, we’re at 110 percent this year,” Smith said.

“Every-thing just sort of came together well. It was a little dry this spring but pollination was good … and things have just moved forward from there. We had good rain throughout the summer and it’s just been a good year,” Smith said.

At Clarkdale Fruit Farms in Deerfield, Ben Clark said they were looking at a bumper crop Sunday as they started pick-your-own. Hail hit Montague at least this summer, but Clark said he hasn’t heard of hail reaching any of the orchards, and everyone he knows of is looking at a good apple crop, even customers with backyard trees. “People have trees that have never fruited before and this year they are. Across the board, it’s a great year,” Clark said.