Autumn’s many pleasures are upon us — and nothing says fall more than a visit to the apple orchards. September invigorates our spirits with all that makes this short-lived time of year so special: crisp, juicy apples, apple cider, pumpkins, and harvest fairs. So gather everyone together — and perhaps even your faithful four-legged companion —and set out for a day of apple picking.
While apple season is high gear right now, there’s still time to pick through mid October, according to area growers.
Excellent weather conditions — beginning during this year’s bloom and growing season, and continuing into harvest — mean that this year’s fruit will be large and juicy, with high natural sugars. Meanwhile, recent new plantings ensure that there will be greater availability of everyone’s favorite apple varieties.
“Good news, apple fans. This year’s apple harvest is on time, and is now in full swing,” says Jim Allen, president of the New York Apple Association. “Our consumers who have been waiting for us to get back into the market after last year’s short crop have lots to celebrate this fall.”
While last’s year’s apple season was shortened due to frosts that killed much of the fruit on the bud, this year’s crop has rebounded. That means, according to grower reports, that this year’s fruit will be large and juicy, with high natural sugars.
“We didn’t just recover from last year, we’ve roared back and more,” says Allen.
Growers have plenty of apples for everyone to enjoy, including such favorites as Zestar, Gala and Honeycrisp,
For eating straight from the bushel basket or off the tree, choose from the crisp juicy varieties: the perennial favorites McIntosh and Red Delicious, the dense tart Granny Smith, the super-crisp, sweetly tart Honeycrisp, and the tart, juicy Paula Red, along with the more “exotic” varieties, such as Cortland, Empire, Macoun, and Crispin (also known as Mutsu).