At the rear of a building inside Reid's Orchard, Jonagold apples from this year's harvest vibrated across a conveyor belt as they were closely examined, washed and then graded into "1s" or "2s." Billy Reid, owner and operator of Reid's Orchard, said the Jonagold variety "1s" were being prepared to be sold locally during the upcoming holidays and the "2s" would be turned into apple cider.
For Reid, this was the culmination of an apple harvest that wasn't as bountiful as past years, but it wasn't the late summer drought that lowered his yield. Reid said most of the apples had been picked before the September drought and the unseasonal heat could affect the crop. Apple harvesting typically starts about the end of August.
"It was mainly the freeze in the springtime," Reid said. "We lost some of the buds. We probably ended up with a 65% crop from the freeze." Reid estimated a harvest of about 5,000 bushels or 210,000 pounds of apples. Despite not having the volume of apples, there was a positive side to the year's harvest for Reid.
Reid grows 30 varieties of apples with yellow delicious making up about 50% of what he produces. Although the apples are more associated with their bright red skins, Reid said the red delicious variety isn't preferred in this area. Reid's Orchard has been operating in Davies County for 147 years.