As apple picking season approaches, drought could lead to limited inventory – WCCO

JORDAN, Minnesota (WCCO) – Several Minnesota apple orchards will be open to the public next month for picking, but the selection on the trees appears to be thinner than in previous summers due to the drought conditions we are experiencing.

At Minnesota Harvest in Jordan, Cody Cook, the assistant manager, says there are sections of trees with a quarter of the expected apple yield.

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“It’s kind of a statewide concern when it comes to the other orchards we’ve spoken with,” Cook said.

Cook says the drought has resulted in more pesticide-resistant moths than usual that can infect the crop.

There was also a cold snap in late spring which Cook says decimated much of their early growth.

“We have lost a few hundred trees,” he said. “Just all the apples, they were black, so we’re not going to get any of them.”

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Minnesota Harvest also wholesalers to many of the major supermarket chains in the Twin Cities.

Cook says the problems in the orchard could now be passed on to buyers later.

“It’s going to be a problem this year for the quantity, and you might see a price increase at the end of it,” he said. “We must always prepare and choose these [apples] in advance.”

Like orchard owners, state-level agricultural leaders closely monitor drought conditions.

“Farmers are resilient, they are creative and we’ll find a way to overcome that,” said Thom Petersen, commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

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Minnesota Harvest opens for apple picking in mid-August. Orchard staff say they will have enough apples to go off without a hitch.

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