NEW ENGLAND expects a good fresh apple crop in 2018, although there will be some fluctuations throughout the six-state region. New England’s largest apple producing states, Maine and Massachusetts, anticipate about 10 percent more apples than a year ago, while Connecticut and Vermont expect modest declines.
Growing conditions in Maine and Massachusetts have been outstanding, with good pollination weather in May and plenty of precipitation from July on. There have been few reports of frost, hail, or other weather-related damage. The abundant rain should result in plenty of good-sized apples among a full range of sizes.
Less precipitation in Connecticut and Vermont and a larger-than-usual “June drop” help account for the smaller crops predicted for those states. New Hampshire expects a crop similar to last year’s, while Rhode Island may see a small decrease among orchards along the coast that experienced spotty pollination.
In all, New England’s 2018 apple crop is forecast to be about the same size as the 2017 crop, at just over 3.75 million 42-pound boxes, or about 5 percent higher than the region’s five-year average of 3.57 million boxes.
That means plenty of McIntosh, New England’s most popular apple. Accounting for more than half the fresh harvest, McIntosh are ready for picking at many orchards beginning with Labor Day weekend. As the harvest is running a few days late in many areas, people are advised to call ahead to find out what varieties are available.
August’s hot weather may also delay the deep coloring of varieties like McIntosh that require cool nights to develop.
Whenever they arrive and in any color, McIntosh are eagerly anticipated every fall. Their distinctive sweet-tart flavor, red-and-green color, and heady aroma make Macs the quintessential New England apple.
To learn more about McIntosh, view this short, one-minute video:
For a listing of orchards that grow McIntosh, consult the “Apple Finder” at the New England Apples website.
FOR A FEW glorious weeks in August and September, the apple and peach crops overlap. Many New England orchards grow both fruits.
A simple and delicious way to enjoy them together is by adding peaches to applesauce. McIntosh makes a great applesauce by itself, or mixed with other varieties.
Add half a fresh peach, diced, to one cup of apple sauce. Dust with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Enjoy.
Here is the the U. S. Apple Association’s official 2018 forecast for New England:
Connecticut’s crop is estimated at 632,000 42-pound boxes, down percent from last year but 14 percent above the state’s five-year average.
Maine anticipates a crop of 1,140,000 boxes, an increase of 10 percent from a year ago, and 25 percent above the state’s five-year average.
Massachusetts predicts 1,022,000 boxes, up 10 percent from 2017, and 8 percent above the five-year average.
Vermont forecasts a crop of 479,000 boxes, 20 percent lower than 2017, and 51 percent below the five-year average of 721,000.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s estimates, on which the final numbers are based, no longer include smaller apple-producing states like New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Based on the New England Apple Association’s informal survey, both states are looking at average crops, with New Hampshire at about 440,000 boxes, and Rhode Island about 45,000 boxes, a small decrease from a year ago and slightly lower than the five-year average.