Dry days, cool nights yield robust apple crop in New Jersey

 Gala apples are among the varieties now being harvested in New Jersey.(<a href=Photo via ShutterStock) " title="shutterstock_156885326" width="640" height="360"/>

Gala apples are among the varieties now being harvested in New Jersey.(Photo via ShutterStock)

It’s apple picking time for New Jersey farmers.

And dry weather has helped produce an outstanding apple crop in the Garden State, according to Win Cowgill, an agriculture agent with Rutgers Cooperative Extension.

“While our lawns look a little brown, it’s really good for fruit trees because it concentrates the sugar both in apples and peaches,” Cowgill said. “So the fruit has very good quality as far as eating quality the varieties that I’ve sampled already.”

Gala, Honey Crisp, and McIntosh apples are being harvested now, and Cowgill said most growers have a plentiful supply.

“The fruit is large. We’re starting to get good red color even though we’ve had some real warm days. We had a few nights in the 50s this past week, and that cold weather started to turn the apples red.”

Demand for the state’s apples is growing, said Peter Furey, New Jersey Farm Bureau executive director.

“We don’t have a tremendously large acreage right now, but it is a strong market and very, very popular as a retail item in the fall for consumers,” Furey said. “So it’s a very good industry, a strong commodity with the consumer that likes to get farm fresh produce.”

New Jersey still grows three times as many peaches as apples, but since last year, higher apple prices have made them a more attractive crop to farmers.

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