Apple shortage drives up picking price - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Apple shortage drives up picking price

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Middlefield, CT (WFSB) -

Apple picking is a rite of fall in New England. However, a shortage of apples may lead the fruit to cost more this year.

The U.S. Apple Association projects a nationwide yield of 202 million bushels, down about 10 percent. The crops at Lyman Farms in Middlefield are down about 10 percent of their normal crop.

"It was a very early spring we had a warm spell in March, which kind of got the trees moving along faster than they should," said Lyman Farms Ex. Vice President John Lyman. "But then we had cold weather in April."

Blossoms opened early this year because of the mild winter and warm spring. But they say the freeze that hit in late April warmed a degree or two when it moved into Connecticut, which spared state orchards from larger losses seen in other states.

According to experts, several of the trees in Connecticut have fewer apples on them than in past years. The low supply of apples is driving up the price of picking.

"I think if that's what they have to do, then that's what they have to do," said picker Norma Wiley. "That's kind of a business model anywhere."

The shortage is causing people to have to travel just to find apples.

"We usually go to a different orchard closer to home, but they weren't even allowing us to pick because their apples are so damaged, so we came out here," Wiley said. 

Farmers at Lyman Orchards said a low crop is usually followed by a bigger one the next year.

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