Area apple growers relish early start to picking season

7:36 PM, Aug 15, 2010   |    comments
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DIXMONT, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- The early and warm summer has allowed some apple growers in the state to jump start their seasonal business.

Area growers say higher temperatures this past spring caused many apple trees to blossom a few weeks earlier. John Olsen, who owns "Maine-ly Apples," in Dixmont says his apple tress don't typically bloom until mid May. This year however he says they were ready to go by the first week of that month and that gave the green light for bees to come in and pollinate them.

"From that pollination period we start picking apples around this time of year," Olsen said, "and some varieties are not ripe until the middle of October so it depends on the variety of type...some take a longer growing season."

Olsen added that his seasonal crop of 'Jersey Mac' apples are just about ready for picking. He says he's already expecting his orchard's 'Mcintosh' apples to be ready in time for Maine Apple Sunday next month.  

Roger Newey, who owns "Hillcrest Orchards" in Winterport, says he started picking his apples 12 days ahead of schedule. He credits that to this year's early bloom and a good growing season in which there was a mix of rain and sun and relatively low humidity.

"You don't like a lot of humidity early and damp weather because that's when you get scabs started on the leaves and it jumps to the fruit," Newey said, "Basically if you got some good warm growing weather and some rain that will keep the apples coming along."


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