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New York apple growers see bumper crop in 2009, early harvest in 2010

New York apple growers see bumper crop in 2009, early harvest in 2010

New York’s apple industry saw a bumper crop in 2009.

New York’s apple industry saw a bumper crop in 2009.

The New York field office of the USDA’S National Agricultural Statistics Service on Thursday said surveys of apple growers and processors place the state’s 2009 production at 1.38 billion pounds, 9 percent above the 2008 crop of 1.27 billion pounds. Fresh market production of 675 million pounds, up 23 percent from 2008, comprised 50 percent of the total. Apples for processing amounted to 685 million pounds, down 1 percent from the 2008 crop season.

The field office said apples processed for canning and applesauce totaled 335 million pounds, down 12 percent from the previous year. Production used for cider and juice totaled 280 million pounds, up 33 percent from 2008. Other uses of apples totaled 70 million pounds.

The value of the nation’s 2009 apple crop, $2.25 billion, increased 1 percent from the 2008 crop value. Price per pound averaged 23.1 cents in 2009, a slight decrease from the previous year.

While growers may be hard pressed to exceed last year’s crop, apples are expected to ripen much earlier this year.

Pete Ten Eych, the owner of Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont, said apple trees bloomed the earliest he had ever seen this spring, and the heat wave will accelerate the pace. “Some apples may ripen by the end of this month,” Ten Eych said, specifically Tydemans and Paula Reds.

Ten Eych said picking for more popular types, like McIntosh and Jonamacs, usually starts on Labor Day weekend, but he predicts ripening up to two weeks before then.

Apples are the most valuable field crop in New York, according to the State Department of Agriculture and Markets. New York is the second largest apple producing state, trailing only Washington.

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