Apple crop good so far

September 14, 2004|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

In number, size and timing, it's been a good apple crop so far, according to Jeff Semler, an extension educator for the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension in Washington County.

Semler said the Gala apple crop - a summer crop - was "right on time."

Two out of three orchardists interviewed last week said their apples grew and ripened a little ahead of schedule.

Rich Calimer, co-owner of Scenic View Orchards near Sabillasville in Frederick County, Md., said his apples have been 10 to 14 days early.

Warm days in April and May and good moisture accelerated the growth, he said.

"Maybe one week to 10 days early, by the calendar," John R. Martin, co-owner of Ivy Hill Farm northeast of Smithsburg, said of his apples.


Most varieties ripen about 130 days after they bloom, he said.

The orchardists had no complaints about the results.

With the Gala picking season done and the Jonathan season upon him, Bill Gardenhour of Gardenhour Orchards north of Smithsburg said, "We have a nice crop of both."

"The growing season has been doing well. ... It's a normal crop - maybe slightly above normal," Martin said.

"The size looks good this year," he added.

Gardenhour said his crops of Red Delicious and Golden Delicious apples look smaller in number than usual, but the Empires have been more plentiful and larger.

Each orchard grows many apple varieties; Calimer said he has 20.

Some are ready in the summer, some in the fall.

Calimer said he started in July with the Lodi and Summer Rambo varieties.

His last variety will be Fuji, around the middle of October.

Ivy Hill Farm's last two apples will be Granny Smith and Fuji, Martin said.

Gardenhour said he expects his Fuji apples, also his final variety of the season, to be ready the first week of November.

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