It may not feel like autumn just yet, but apple season is already underway, and some farmers say it looks like it will be a good year for the crop.
“Right now, we have an Early Golden that’s out,” said Danny Johnson, who helps run Johnson’s Orchards at Peaks of Otter Winery. “We have a few Empires, we have some Rambos, we’ve got a few Galas that’s coming in.”
While the orchard lost many fruits like peaches, nectarines and plums during a freeze in April, most varieties of apples came through, Johnson said. He predicts the orchard will have about 60 percent of the crop this season, an expectation he said he is happy with.
“It’s a lot of work, but we always anticipate it,” Johnson said. “We make it through it each year somehow together. We’ve been doing it a long time.”
With several varieties of apples ripening every week, Johnson said there are many available for picking, even right now in August.
“We try to tell them where the best picking is available at that particular time,” said Johnson, whose orchard allows visitors to pick their own apples.
Johnson said his orchard starts picking apples at the end of July or early August. The orchard grows more than 200 varieties of apples each year, he added.
While many people come for apple picking in October, the peak time for the crop here is September, Johnson said.
“We’ll still have some apples in October, but the farther up north you get, the more you’ll run into October with apples,” he explained. “But in this particular area, September is probably one of the best months.”
The season typically wraps up in the middle or end of October, Johnson added.
Peaks of Otter Winery uses the apples in some of its wines and also offers products like apple cider and apple butter.