Some apple farmers face low inventory season

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NEWARK, N.Y. – Apple lovers, listen up! Some apple farmers are worried about low inventory this season. It has to do with frosty conditions back in May.

While it’s frustrating for farmers, they don’t want this deterring people from coming out to pick. You’ll just have to pay close attention on where to pick.

Gary Wells has been running Maple Ridge Fruit Farm and The Apple Shed in Newark, Wayne County since 1970. As you drive up, apple orchards are one of the first things you’ll see.

You’ll also notice his farm is in a hilly area. But there’s quite a contrast between orchards on top of the hill, and orchards on lower levels.

“There’s just no apples there,” said Wells, pointing to his Cortland variety trees.

Back in May, there were some freezing temperatures overnight. The frost has significantly affected trees in lower levels and valleys. The top of his hill, remains unaffected, producing a full crop.

“As you come down the hill, there’s no crop. And then some of the apples are scarred so we can’t sell them, it’s called frost ringing,” said Well.s

The damage from frost creates a mushy ringing effect on some apples. Wells says those apples have no market value. They may taste fine, but they’re cosmetically unappealing.

“I probably lost, with this scarring and everything, probably 55% percent of my crop,” he said.

While it’s frustrating for farmers like him, he wants the public to know there’s still an abundance for picking. You may have to move around a bit when you’re checking it out.

“And as far as my farm market, we hope to have every variety, because I grew about 100 acres of apples,” he said. “So I’ve got enough to take care of my farm market, but not enough to supply my retailers.”

Hopefully next year will be better.

“The last time we had a freeze like this was in 2012, and it bothered Michigan to New York, New England, to Pennsylvania, and that was the worst freeze since the ‘40s. But this one, is not so widespread, it’s more regional.”

And speaking of the perfect growing conditions, Wells says his pumpkins are taking a little longer this season. It has to do with cooler temperatures this summer.

He hopes the recent warm spell will help produce plenty of healthy Orange pumpkins, in time for fall.