Indiana orchards: Late freeze impacts autumn apple season

Orchards around Indiana are running out of apples early this season, following a late spring freeze that obliterated much of the state's crop. Temperature drops that occurred state-wide in late April and early May wreaked havoc on the budding, flowering apple trees unable to withstand the cold.

The sub-freezing snaps — which led to severe fruit damage and significant crop loss — impacted roughly 70% of the apple crop, said Peter Hirst, a tree fruit specialist at Purdue University.

"It's the worst we've seen in quite some time, in decades in Indiana," Hirst told "This is really rare for us to have damage as severe as what we've seen this year."

Damage was widespread across Indiana's orchards, but growers say cold-related damage in neighboring Michigan — the country's third-largest apple-producing state — was likely limited to crops in the southwest, with Red Delicious and Jonagold apples affected most.

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