Apple Crop That Was at Risk, Now Ready Early
The Minnesota apple crop that was at risk this spring is now ready weeks early.
Mike Dekarski is President of the Minnesota Apple Growers Association; he says warm weather woke apple trees from dormancy much earlier than usual. Dekarski says trees started blooming in March and growers worried about a frost, "This is going to be a disaster! We knew we were going to get frost, we were just hoping it wasn't a real severe frost."
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says some growers lost 90 percent of their crop to a frost in early April. Dekarski, who manages Apple Jack's Orchard near Delano says he wasn't sure the crop there would survive, "Third week in April, I thought we wouldn't have an apple on the orchard."
While many crops have produced lower yields, Dekarski says there are still apples and adds the same apples that started blooming early are ready for picking early, "We've already picked all of our Zestar apples Typically we wouldn't pick those until the last week of August, or the First week of September."
This year, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture recommends calling ahead to orchards to see if varieties have already been picked and to check availability, and, consider making traditional family visits to an orchard early to accommodate the early harvest of this year's crop.