Sunny summer will bring sweeter NYS apples

Apples and cider will be super sweet this year.That is the consensus of state apple growers of the crop that got off to a wet start last spring but has been basking in sun all summer.The abundance of sun means apples will have higher sugar content. Sunshine generates higher sugar levels in apples—known as brix levels. “Sunny weather means sweeter fruit, and happy apple eaters,” said Jim Allen, president of the New York Apple Association.”New York is going to have a strong, tasty crop and we are going to have plenty of our apples in the marketplace before anyone else,” he said. “Consumers are going to be delighted with our quality this year,” Allen said.The annual NYAA crop prediction is determined by a consensus of growers representing six apple growing districts throughout the state. The crop consensus was reached during a conference call held on July 28.Consumers should be seeing fresh-picked local apples in the next couple weeks in some lower Hudson Valley locations. Orchards in other parts of the state will have fresh crop apples later in August.The season will get underway in earnest in early September when the McIntosh variety is picked. The harvest will last through late October or early November.The crop is pretty much right on time, despite a slower start to bloom in the spring due to heavy rains, growers said.New York apple growers predict the statewide crop will be at or near last year’s crop size of approximately 30.3 million bushels.That number will still easily keep New York ranked second in apple production nationwide, behind Washington State.Early season varieties, like Jersey Mac and Tydeman will be the first apples off the tree. Later in August, growers will pick Ginger Gold and Paula Red, sometimes called “The Girls of Summer.” The McIntosh harvest, considered the traditional “kick off” to the apple season, will begin in early September in most regions, a little later in the Lake Champlain area. High demand for ‘home grown’ fruit is driving consumers to fresh New York apples in bigger numbers than ever before, according to retailers and growers. More and more data from the world’s top research institutions are proving that apples really do help keep the doctor away, which is also helping move apples off the produce shelves in record numbers.“Apples are a tasty and convenient way for families to enjoy a healthy snack,” Allen said.The state’s crop of traditional varieties like McIntosh and Empire look promising, growers said. Popular varieties like Honeycrisp, Gala and Cortland also look good.The five-year official crop numbers in New York:2010 30.3 million bushels2009 32.8 million bushels2008 29.8 million bushels2007 31.1 million bushels2006 29.7 million bushelsNew York grows apples on 50,370 acres. It ranks second in the nation in apple production

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