ROGERS, Ohio (WKBN) – It takes a lot to grow the prefect apple. The weather is a big factor in what you see and taste. Intense heat or cold can cause a variety of problems, and here in the Valley we’ve had both.
The early spring freeze on budding trees threatened crops, while the warm summer nights impacted the color of some variety of apples – and then you have the damage caused by thunderstorms, heavy rain and hail, and drought conditions. So, how do growers manage all that and still have a crop to sell come fall?
Daniel Simmons, Jr. at Peace Valley Orchard in Rogers says it takes a lot of planning and hard work to battle everything Mother Nature dishes out. He says some crops will be impacted by the extreme weather fluctuations and that’s just part of the business of growing apples. For instance, the early spring freeze damaged the skin of some early apples, namely the Gala apples, nearly half the crop was impacted.
“Their skin was actually frosted or slightly damaged, and we didn’t realize it until halfway through the summer. And we have some areas or blocks in the orchard that were quite devastated,” Simmons said.
Even with the damaged crop, Simmons said they still ended up with thousands of bushels of various varieties that were untouched and have a full crop this year.
Simmons is a member of the Midwest Apple Improvement Association (MAIA). The group of apple growers cultivates various varieties of apples, working on texture and taste.
A fairly new apple to hit the orchard is the EverCrisp. It’s a cross between the HoneyCrisp and Fuji. It was cultivated and tested specifically for the challenges faced by growers in the Midwest portions of the United States. Simmons says the apple is sweet with a hard texture. He describes it as the “apple growers dream.”
Farmers are in the process of growing the EverCrisp variety and a full release is expected next year. Simmons said they are releasing small batches of the apples this year at Peace Valley Orchard and they can be found at White House Fruit Farm.