You can thank the weather for the sweet stuff in the pie and stuffing you enjoyed this Thanksgiving.
Fruit tree specialist at Penn State Extension Rob Crassweller said the conditions from each season may have contributed to an apple yield that is not only larger than last year’s by half a million bushels, but also good quality.
After a wet summer, “August and September dried off … so our growers were able to get a lot of fruit off the trees,” he said.
That helped get to a big number, but the flavor was also helped along by cool fall nights.
Nights that dipped into the 50s “got good coloring on the fruit” and helped bring up sugar levels.
“All in all, good quality fruit,” said Crassweller.
Amy Johnson of Greener Partners, which runs a 100-acre farm in Collegeville, Montgomery County, said she saw the difference in the farm’s 800 apple trees.
“Especially our Stayman and Cortland, [they] almost look like plums on the trees, they are so bright it’s gorgeous,” she said. Most of her apple trees have already given their yield for the year, but some Granny Smith and Braeburn are still on the branch, she said.
Her numbers are up too.
“We had a bumper crop,” said Johnson. “I would say it’s more than doubled” over last year’s yield.
That is in line with what some other fruit tree producers are reporting too, she said. “Across the Northeast, for sure, we’ve been reading and hearing that all fruit has been a bumper crop, and not just edible, like acorns on trees.”
It was a banner year for apples across the country. Pennsylvania is expected to bring in about 12 million bushels this year, far less than bigger apple-producing states New York and Washington.