The summer rains were good for their apple harvests

There is still time to pick apples this fall, thanks to a bumper harvest supported by good growing conditions, according to local apple growers.

“We have a big, big harvest,” said Gil Barden of Barden Family Orchard in North Scituate.

Jim Steere, of Steere Orchard in Greenville, said: “It’s a good year. The hardest part is selling them all.

The rainy weather this summer actually brought too much moisture for some vegetables, but it was great for apple trees, according to Joe Polseno of Pippin Orchard in Cranston.

The result? “I see bigger apples,” Polsena said.

Steere said: “The trees are beautiful, green and healthy, as opposed to a dry year where they turn brown.”

The first sign the weather was going to cooperate was in May, when Mother Nature didn’t deliver a late frost, Barden said. In early May, apple trees bloom flowers, which turn into apples. Frost can kill these flowers.

“It’s kind of the bullet you hope to dodge every spring,” Barden said.

From May through September, the Providence area received about 25 inches of rain, with a total of over 10 inches in June and July, according to the National Weather Service. Rain in early summer gives apples a good start, according to Barden.

The rain “came at the right time for the apples to help them grow,” Barden said.

Pleasant fall weather followed. The apple growers say that their U-pick activity has been dynamic, as well as their stand activity. Because the harvest was so strong, they expect to have apples until the end of the month and maybe until November.

“I know other orchards in the state still have lots of apples,” Barden said Tuesday, noting that he grows several types that ripen late in the season and are still on the trees.

According to the Rhode Island Fruit Growers Association, Rhode Island has 18 to 20 commercial apple growers, who use about 300 acres of land. The crop was worth $ 1.7 million in 2018, the latest year available from the United States Department of Agriculture, according to the Rhode Island Farm Bureau.

Steere, president of the growers association, owns about 4,000 apple trees on 30 acres. Despite a busy fall and Columbus Day weekend, about half of his crop remains available for picking and selling.

On Tuesday he said, “We have a long way to go.

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