Maine apple orchards ‘are producing like crazy’

Maine apple growers are predicted to have large crops this year.
AP
Maine apple growers are predicted to have large crops this year.
Posted Sept. 09, 2011, at 6:58 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 12, 2011, at 6:32 a.m.

FAIRFIELD, Maine — Terri Glidden, farm manager at The Apple Farm in Fairfield, said this year’s apple crop is doing very well. “We might be a week later in picking some varieties, but overall it should be a great season,” she said Friday.

Matt Treworgy at Treworgy Family Orchard in Levant said this year could be his farm’s biggest crop ever. “It is going to be really, really good,” he said Friday.

At the Mildel Farm in Plymouth, Mildred Levesque echoed that assessment. “It’s going to be a great harvest,” she said. “We had no weather problems this year, except for Irene.” Levesque said Hurricane Irene caused a small amount of loss when some undersized apples dropped from the trees. “Other than that, it is going really well,” she said of the harvest.

Whether it is a large farm like the one that Glidden manages — two locations, 100 acres of production — or a small one such as the Levesque’s — 350 trees — experts are predicting a bountiful apple harvest this year.

University of Maine Cooperative Extension apple specialist and educator Renee Moran said this week that many Maine apple orchards are seeing healthy crops this year, with slightly smaller apples in some regions of the state, compared with previous years. Overall, she says, “I think it’s going to be a great apple year.”

Moran said that last year, in May 2010, a killing frost hit apple trees just as they were getting ready to blossom, decimating the harvest. “But apples like to alternate production,” she said. “So this year, they are producing like crazy.”

Moran is estimating a statewide harvest of about one million bushels. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Maine produced 29 million pounds of apples in 2010, worth $13.4 million. Moran’s estimate would increase last year’s crop value to about $20 million.

She also said it was a bountiful season for peach trees and some southern Maine orchards may have peaches available on Apple Sunday.

To find pick-your-own apple orchards or identify those participating in Maine Apple Sunday, go to the Maine Department of Agriculture’s website, www.getrealmaine.com.

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