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Apple Harvest Early, With Possible Low Yields
Updated September 22, 2014 12:34 PM | Filed under: Agriculture
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(UNDATED) - The apple harvest normally conducted in October is beginning now.

According to Amy Hamilton, owner of Musgrave Apple Orchard in Bloomington the harsh weather of this past winter "has everything messed up."

Icy temperatures in January, a cold snap in late spring and the low temperatures in July ranked Indiana's winter as the ninth coldest in the state's history. An early spring with high temperatures caused trees to produce blossoms early, and made them particularly vulnerable to frost conditions that struck in late spring. Thanks to this, consumers may be doing less bobbing for apples and more fighting over them.

Because of these low yields, consumers will most likely have to shell out more cash for apples and apple products, and if you prefer to buy produce locally, it may be tough to find your favorite varieties.

Because the harvest is early, farmers are shifting their harvest schedules. Apples that normally would have been picked in October are being picked now.

The apples will not be "very pretty" this year, according to Hamilton.

Drought-affected areas are seeing smaller apple sizes with thicker skins, though not necessarily a decline in taste.

Many orchards also allow customers to pick their own apples, but some hard-hit areas are canceling this autumn tradition to cut costs and account for the lower numbers.

"Many will have external damage like a rust-color and bruises from hail," she added. "But that will not affect the taste."

Not all the news is bleak on this year's harvest, though; some areas got lucky with the weather and are looking at big harvests featuring big apples. Pennsylvania expects about average production, unlike neighbors New York and Ohio and Indiana.

The New England states also fared well and are expecting good harvests, and Washington, the nation's top apple producer, also enters the fall season more or less unscathed.

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