HOLLIS, N.H. — Autumn is upon us which means apple season is starting up across New Hampshire! Orchards across the state are busy harvesting, making cider and doughnuts, and opening up to the public for pick-your-own services of NH’s most famous fruit.
Apples are consistently one of New Hampshire’s top agricultural commodities. According to the 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture New Hampshire is home to 228 farms that grow apples which covers around 1,458 acres of land in the state. Over 50 varieties of apples are grown in NH.
While last year’s season was marked by wet conditions, this year’s growing season was the opposite as NHFGA growers were challenged by dryer conditions which led to varying production outcomes. Brett McKenzie of McKenzie’s Farm in Milton said that his farm’s crop has turned out well saying, “Apples are sizing up better than anticipated considering the lack of rain in July. The drought was a challenge, but on the farm we were watering the orchard daily from our wells and ponds.” Similarly, Diane Souther of Apple Hill Farm in Concord reported her orchard is in good shape saying, “The crop is looking great. We got some rain off and on so size is good.”
Other growers have not been as fortunate though. Laurie Loosigian of Apple Annie in Brentwood shared, “This year’s crop is severely compromised. We had a huge crop last year which resulted in a small bloom this year. We had some pollination issues and then the drought and heat on our south facing orchard made for a very sad outcome: early drop and very small apples. We are not doing PYO and will open just a few weekends. Nearly a total loss.”
Less volume appears to be a common theme amongst growers in regards to this year’s apple crop due to drought and other factors. Ms. Souther mentioned, “A little less volume overall due to fruit set in the spring. Nothing the consumer will notice. Also finding the apples are a little loose on the tree making for more drops.”
Despite some of the challenges of this year’s growing season, growers are looking forward to welcoming families to their orchards this fall for apple picking and other activities. Ms. Souther also said, “As fall weather approaches expect some super sweet apples as they all ripen up. Wagon rides have been up and families are meeting again as family units to go picking in the fresh air!”
Apple season lasts from now until late-October or early-November. Be sure to enjoy the fall season by visiting a nearby apple orchard and tasting and experiencing all they have to offer! To find an orchard near you visit the New Hampshire Fruit Growers Association website at https://www.nhfruitgrowers.
–New Hampshire Fruit Growers Association