LAYFAYETTE, NY (WSYR)-When we think about apples, we think about when the temperatures cool down and the leaves change color. But the apple starts budding as spring flowers bloom. This year it was even earlier.
Pete Fleckenstein, Beak & Skiff General Manager of Fresh Fruit and Beverages said, “We had green tissue on apple buds showing down here on March 25th and that is unheard of. We’re usually, the usual 100-year average is into April, second or third week in April, say April 10th or 15th.”
That was just the beginning of the unusual. The end of march we had temperatures rise into the 70s and quickly dip into the 20s, luckily, the flowers dodged the frost despite their early arrival.
Fleckenstein said, “Typically full bloom down here is May 15. This year we had full bloom on May 1. So, we were 15 days early.”
After full bloom, it cooled down and the growing process slowed down. The end of May brought the 90-degree heat and a two-week dry stretch.
Fleckenstein said, “I remember going home from Memorial Day weekend saying ‘If we don’t get a little rain, we’re going to have to start to think about watering our younger trees that don’t have the root system to support it,’ and then it came, it just started raining and raining.”
Although the apple trees got twice as much rain as they need, they got the rain at the perfect time.
Fleckenstein says, “In June, once the flowers are gone, there’s a small apple there and cell division is occurring. When cell division is occurring, you need rain to make that happen. The number of cells in the apple determine how big it ultimately can get.”
There won’t be as many apples on the tree, but the apples themselves are bigger than last year.
Fleckenstein says, “The crop looks really, really nice but what we’re seeing is because of all the rain, the apples have blown up, they’re huge.”
Bigger than normal, delicious as usual and ready to pick at an orchard near you.