THE BLOSSOMS are peaking now at many New England orchards, and close up or from a distance, it is a spectacular sight.
After a slow start, the bloom has advanced quickly in the recent stretch of summer-like weather — at Pine Hill Orchards in Colrain, Massachusetts, for examples, the blossoms were at “match-tip” stage May 9, and many trees were in peak bloom just five days later on May 13. A little further north, McDougal Orchards in Springvale, Maine, reports that bloom is expected to peak there this weekend.
The orchard in bloom is a beautiful sight, but the time for viewing it is short, especially in southern New England locations. If you have a chance to get out to see bloom in person, now is the time.
To learn more about bloom and pollination, view the short video below, in which Frank Carlson of Carlson Orchards, Harvard, Massachusetts, explains why apple growers depend on honeybees during this critical stage.
While the blossoms on the trees now will eventually develop into the 2015 apple crop, the good news for consumers is that there are still plenty of New England apples available from the 2014 crop. Fresh from sealed rooms in controlled-atmosphere (“CA”) storage, the apples are nearly as crisp and just as flavorful as the day they were picked.
New England McIntosh, Cortland, and other varieties should be widely available for at least another month.
Photographs by Russell Steven Powell.