Empire apples

New York state’s apple harvest will officially get underway on 15 August, the state’s apple growers have reported, with producers expecting this year’s crop to be 'a strong encore to last year’s vintage crop'.

Growers forecasted the 2014 crop at 30m bushels during a statewide conference call on 25 July, hosted by New York Apple Association (NYAA). That forecast is slightly smaller than last year’s crop of 32m bushels, but above the state’s five-year average of 29.5m bushels as new plantings begin to produce fruit.

However, the final accounting of the crop may be larger, as fruit continues to size leading up to harvest.

Growers from across the state have reported excellent growing conditions this year, beginning with a late spring and near-perfect pollination weather, combined with ample summer sun and the right amount of rain. As a result, fruit size will trend large, with high sugar levels.

They also report there will be abundant supplies of consumer-favourite varieties, including Honeycrisp and, Gala, and New York’s own Empire and McIntosh.

“Knock on bin wood, Mother Nature has smiled on us two years in a row,” said NYAA president Jim Allen. “Harvest is on time, we have plenty of bins and storage, and we are getting strong retail support in our key markets – all in all, we are off to a good start and have high expectations.”