A crushing quantity of apples

Apple procurement has been a bit different than usual this year. The biggest issue is that the weather was really strange this spring, with unusually warm conditions causing the apple trees to blossom 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule, just in time for a hard freeze that killed as much as 90% of the crop in places. The main orchard at Poverty Lane was especially hard hit. Kelsey and I made a field trip up there to get bittersweets for cider, and their awesome “two below the barn” orchard with its wonderful array of apple varieties was virtually barren. The trees looked great, with strong new growth compensating for the lack of fruit, but hardly an apple to be seen. Fortunately, their other plantings of bittersweets fared better, and we bought a 600lb bin of Dabinet drops for cider.

Many orchards even in central New England lost 80% of their crop, and the you-pick season was over basically before it started. Kelsey and Joshua have nonetheless secured 2 bins of apples from Brackett’s orchard, so we should be fine for cidering despite the crop failure:

This year’s experience points out the risks that climate change poses to agriculture. Obviously the hot weather this spring and this particular crop failure can’t be specifically blamed on greenhouse gases, but the rate of such incidents is bound to increase as the climate gets warmer and weirder. I am hopeful that the location of our orchard less than a mile from the moderating effect of the ocean will spare us from the worst of this sort of risk.

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