VDACS News Releases
September 13, 2016
Despite a Year of Extreme Weather, Virginia’s Apples Should be Plentiful this Year
Contact: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686
Winter heat, spring freezes and too much late spring/early summer rain combined to make 2016 a challenging year for Virginia’s apple growers, but now that harvest has begun, the state is on track to have a good crop.
Growers having been picking Gala apples since August and are now picking Red and Golden Delicious apples, with the other varieties to follow: Ginger Gold, Pink Lady, McIntosh, Honey Crisp, Stayman and more. Most of the Commonwealth has been dry just prior to harvest, which brings out the natural sugars for a very sweet apple. With the cooler temperatures at night, a deep red color is developing on the red varieties. Virginia apples may be a little smaller this year but the supply should be plentiful at fruit stands and in the stores. Pick-your-own farms should also have plenty of apples, but the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services always recommends calling first for hours of operation and fruit availability.
“We expect to have plenty of delicious apples available in Virginia through the end of the harvest in November,” said VDACS Commissioner Sandra J. Adams. “The Commonwealth is the seventh-largest U.S. apple-growing state, and many consumers in our region, the U.S. and around the globe look forward to Virginia Grown apples each year.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), apples were Virginia’s 15th largest agricultural commodity with farm cash receipts totaling $37 million in 2014, the last year for which we have figures. The Commonwealth is home to more than 150 commercial apple growers, as well as many pick-your-own farms that sell directly to the consumer. Virginia exports apples to India, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala and other countries.
Virginia offers many ways to celebrate this favorite fall fruit, including festivals that feature pick-your-own apples, a selection of ready-picked varieties and apple products. The Virginia Apple Growers Association just launched a revamped website at VirginiaApples.net with a listing of apple-related fall events. Consumers also may search for orchards, events, pick-your-own farms and more online at VirginiaGrown.com.
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