Local orchards prepare for fall, crop on track to be ready for busy season

SPEER, Ill. (WMBD) — Fall is closing in, and some apple orchards across the region are planning on their apples being ready for the busy season.

“So far, the apple crop has looked really nice. We’ve got timely rain, so they’re getting good size, and hopefully, they’ll still be real sweet,” said Tanners Co-Owner Craig Tanner.

The nice weather has contributed to the success.

“We did have some frost early this spring. That thinned out some of the apples. So, there’s a few low-lying areas in the orchard that have a lower crop than I’d like to see, but other than that everything looks really good,” said Tanner.

Over at Christ Orchard in Elmwood, a similar report was given.

“We did have some close calls with frost but made it through that thankfully. And so, the fruit set was good and the rest of them throughout the summer has been good too,” said Christ Orchard Manager Molly Christ.

This year’s apples are looking much better than what Christ Orchard saw in 2012.

“In the spring it was 80 degrees in March and so the blossoms all opened. And then it froze, and so half the blossoms were killed. So, we lost a lot of our crops from that. And then in the summer, it was dry, very hot. So just a lot of sunburn and just quality issues with the apples that were there,” said Molly Christ.

While the finish line for apple picking season is almost here, orchards are keeping an eye on the skies.

“To ruin it would be a hailstorm. Would be devastating. It could just get huge marks and everything. Lots of openings for rot and different stuff like that. So that could be real devastating. Wind would be the same thing. If you had a huge windstorm knock all the apples off, ” said Tanner.

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