On the heels of a scarce crop last year, north country apple growers are seeing a bumper supply of fruit in their apple orchards this season.
Our trees are loaded, absolutely loaded, said Joel C. Howie, operator of Canton Apples, Canton-Russell Road, Canton. We are getting a fantastic crop.
Growers said that when trees underproduce one year, the harvest is often extra large the following season.
The trees had a rest last year so nature tells them they need to explode the next, and thats what theyve done, said Steven L. Fobare, operator of Fobares Fruits, 180 Johnson Road, Rensselaer Falls. Even the wild trees are loaded.
Alan M. Goodwin, operator of Goodwins Orchards, 37 Needham Road, Potsdam, said last years apple crop suffered after a heat spell in March caused blossoms to arrive early.
The high spring temperatures were followed by a frost that killed some of the buds. Last summer was hot and dry, which stunted apple growth.
This summer, plentiful rain and mild temperatures have helped boost the crop. Cooler nights forecast this week will help the fruit ripen.
Cold is good for apples. It changes the starch, and thats what brings the color, Mr. Goodwin said. This time of year, we want it to cool down.
Some U-pick orchards in the north country already are open for customers, while others expect to open within a few days. Picked apples are for sale at many roadside stands.
The U-pick at Fobares is open for customers with four varieties ready: Early Gold, Ginger Gold, Autumn Crisp and LindaMac. Customers can pick seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and picked apples are also for sale. Prices vary depending on the quantity and the variety. Grapes are also available for picking.
Customers visiting Fobares also will find a playground, gift shop, bakery and pumpkin patch.
At Canton Orchards, apple varieties include Liberty, Mac-free and Honey Crisp. The U-pick will be open to customers starting Saturday and running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. Four different sizes are available: half peck for $5, one peck for $8, half bushel for $14 and one bushel for $20.
The roadside stand at Goodwins has picked apples available. The U-pick operation should open next week with McIntosh, Cortland, Empire and a few other varieties. Picking is from 9 a.m. to dusk Monday through Saturday; closed Sundays.
A bushel of U-pick costs $16, one of picked apples is $20. Smaller sizes are also available.
There are several other orchards in the county as well, including Brookdale Orchards in Winthrop and Kanebs Orchards in Massena.