HOLLIS, N.H. — One of the quintessential facets of autumn in New Hampshire is drawing to a close: apple season. Apples are consistently one of New Hampshire’s top crops. Some New Hampshire Fruit Growers Association (NHFGA) member orchards have already closed for the year, while others are in their final days of the season.
Despite wet conditions for parts of the growing season, growers were pleased with this year’s harvest. The Bleiler Family from Cardigan Mountain Orchard in Alexandria reported their crop was, “Blemish free! No scab, no russeting, perfect! Large fruit and juicy! More apples than most years.” Giff Burnap of Butternut Farm, LLC in Farmington also stated that he was blessed with an excellent crop after working through some challenges that the wet and humid weather of July and August created. Giff added that growers across the state saw bountiful harvests: “In general the apple crop across the state was heavy and of good quality. Reports of long apple harvests with tired but happy growers were a common theme.”
Visiting orchards to pick-your-own apples has remained a popular activity as, orchards reported good turnouts. Bright and fair-weathered weekends throughout the fall contributed to this turnout, as well as Covid-19 pandemic-related factors like a desire for outdoor activities and greater interest in local foods. Butternut Farm had many visitors this year, as Giff reported, “Our business had record turnouts for customers and better than average weather, especially on the weekends, which made for a great harvest that actually ended about a week early because we ran out of fruit to sell.” Although they did not see as many visitors as last year, Cardigan Mountain also had a nice turnout, as the Bleilers stated, “Less [visitors] than last year. We saw a huge surge with Covid-19 closing other fall activities last season. But we’d say our turnout was ‘normal’ for us.”
Overall, this fall’s apple season was a success. Growers navigated the challenges caused by wetness in the growing season to produce good harvests. Growers are still experiencing and adapting to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Giff Burnap summed up the season saying, “All in all 2021 was an apple-grower-friendly season. The on-going pandemic has encouraged people to choose local more often, and engage in outdoor activities…” To find out which orchards are still open, check out the NHFGA website at https://www.nhfruitgrowers.
About the New Hampshire Fruit Growers Association:
The NH Fruit Growers Association (NHFGA) is a non-profit association made up of tree fruit farmers, commercial, and supporting members who share a passion for New Hampshire-grown apples, peaches, cherries, plums, and pears. Among the association’s approximately 30 member orchards and farms, there’s diversity in size, fruit, and farm products, but they all gladly share the hard work of taking great care to grow quality fresh fruit for their customers. Keep up with NHFGA on Facebook and Instagram (@NHFruitGrowers) for nutrition information, fun facts, recipes, and more!
–New Hampshire Fruit Growers Association