Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Heat could be very bad for apple crop

A confession: I've always had this dream of having a large apple orchard in the mountains. It would be my ticket to the "Thomas Jefferson School of Gentlemen Farmers" (sans the other accomplishments, mind you). But now may not be the best time to take a stab at it, according to the Hendersonville Times-News.

“This heat has affected fruit, and a lot of growers are putting materials on to reduce sunburning,” said Marvin Owings, interim director of the N.C. Cooperative Extension Henderson County office.

... Fred Hoots, owner of Fred Hoots Orchard, who has been growing apples full-time since 1966, said last year's and this year's summers are the worst he can remember with regard to hot and dry conditions.

Hoots just finished picking one of the earliest apple varieties of the year — the tasty, semi-sweet ginger gold — and he's been using a product that holds the fruit firm and prevents it from getting too ripe.


Meanwhile, Mark Williams, the county's new agri-business executive director, has been busy in his first month on the job, exploring opportunities for potential new markets for not only apples but other commodities as well, he said.

With the possibility of a couple of new buyers already that Williams has contacted, he's hoping Mother Nature will cooperate.

“The apple crop is looking good,” he said. “We've suffered through some hail storms — there are always those things to contend with, and other challenges that we face — but overall it looks like a good crop, and we're just trying to make it through until we get the apples picked and get them sold. Until that happens, you never know. There's always risk.”

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