FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 2, 2008
CONTACT: Jon Clements, UMass Extension Tree Fruit Specialist, 413-478-7219
THESE ARE THE 'GOLDEN DAYS' FOR MASSACHUSETTS APPLE AND PEACH GROWERS
According to Extension Specialist Jon Clements, these are the 'Golden Days' for Massachusetts apple and peach growers, meaning the peach harvest is in full swing and the fall apple harvest is beginning in earnest. In addition, the late summer weather has been 'golden' too, resulting in a large and tasty crop of Massachusetts apples and peaches at the same time.
Clements, who works for the University of Massachusetts Amherst Extension on behalf of commercial tree fruit growers throughout the state, says the "mid-summer rains helped apples and peaches grow large while the current stretch of wonderful weather including sunny days and cool nights has concentrated the sugars and flavor in what are our signature tree fruit crops, apples and peaches."
Massachusetts produces one million 40 lb. boxes or bushels of apples per year on average, and 2008 should be no exception with a similar harvest predicted. The peach harvest is expected to amount to at least 70,000 40 lb. boxes or bushels in 2008. Apples and peaches combined contribute more than 20 million dollars to the Massachusetts economy.
The fall apple harvest, which peaks in early October, is a tradition for many Massachusetts families who visit a local orchard or farmstand to purchase or pick-their-own apples. But many apples are ripening now, including the favorite 'McIntosh,' and a visit to a local orchard now can be doubly rewarding when both early fall apples and peaches are ripe, delicious, and at their peak. The new favorite 'Honeycrisp' apple will also be ready early this month.
Orchardists are already experiencing high demand for their locally produced fruit with the increased interest in 'buy local' and the eating quality that only locally produced and tree-ripened apples and peaches can deliver. Still, the bumper crop and seasonal overlap of these two tree fruits is not to be missed, and a visit to your local orchard or farmstand in the coming weeks is sure to be a treat only experienced once-a-year.
To find a grower or farm-stand with apples and peaches near you, visit the Massachusetts Fruit Growers’ Association web site, http://www.massfruitgrowers.org, the Massachusetts Department of Food and Agriculture ‘MassGrown’ website, http://www.mass.gov/massgrown/, the Massachusetts Association of Roadside Stands website, http://www.massfarmstands.com, or the New England Apple Association website, http://www.newenglandapples.org.
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