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Macintosh is primary variety
New England apple growers enjoy good season
The apple season has been a good one for growers in New England. Bountiful harvests and a healthy market have given them reason for a positive end of the year. Weather has been a major factor, with the right amount of warmth and rain combining to give the apple trees favorable conditions for growth.
"The apple crop was really good this year," said Frank Carlson, of Carlson Orchards in Massachusetts. "We did much better than last year thanks to the good weather. It was a little hotter than we would have liked in some parts, but overall it was very favorable and movement was good. Last year New England froze out for the peach season and we lost that crop. We are only a small grower with 70 acres of apples, so it's a relief to get some good movement on our apples this year."
Sue Cooper, of Cooper Farms in Maine, echoed Carlson's observations. "We had a lot of apples this year," she said. "We are up 40% more on last year. Good weather gave the fruit ideal conditions to grow. There was some rain early on in the season, and then again just before harvest which is good. We also missed the hail that impacts the crop during some years."
Macintosh and Honey Crisp most popular
The Macintosh has been the traditional New England apple and continues to be one of the main crops in the region. Other apple varieties, however, are making inroads into the market, with ones like the Honey Crisp enjoying a high level of appeal from customers.
"While the Macintosh has been the primary apple variety in the New England region, other types such as Cortland, Honey Crisp and the Gala are also commonly grown," Cooper said. "The Macintosh is a versatile apple - you can eat it as well as cook with it. It has a tart flavor to begin with but then sweetens up. Cooper Farms ship it right up and down the East coast all the way to Florida. With other varieties around, including many new ones, it will be interesting to see if it remains the premier New England apple. The Honey Crisp, for example, is becoming very popular on the market. It's generally valued much higher and sits at a higher price level. This year's Honey Crisp deal has been a big one and we've seen a lot of movement on them."
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