Bumper Apple Crop has Pros and Cons for Growers

After a weak crop last year, apple growers in New England are reporting a strong year for the popular fall fruit. But a bigger crop isn’t all good news for orchard owners. 

This year’s crop may be too good, especially for farms that sell their apples wholesale to distributors and supermarkets. David Shearer is owner of Pine Hill Orchards in Colrain, Massachusetts. He says he’s left some of his apples on the tree because of increased competition.

“Some of our McIntosh especially, we were starting to get a little late on picking them, so we decided to jump over to some of the later varieties, and we did leave some just for the fact that we weren’t sure we were able to sell them if we picked them,” Shearer says.

The strong crop has driven down prices, and Shearer says costs for storing and packaging are up since last year. Shearer says he’s not sure whether he’ll lose money on this crop, but with good storage, he says he’ll be selling apples well into next spring. For other growers that sell their crop at farm stands and markets, the big crop isn’t a concern. Ben Clark of Clarkdale Fruit Farms in Deerfield says the large crop means he’ll just keep his farm stand open longer.