Severe weather this year has done a number on apple crops and is putting a damper on fun this Fall. Many local orchards can't offer 'pick your own' for their customers, because there just aren’t enough apples to go around.
“There’s one that's split in half up there, and one there, and one there,” said Larry DeVoe, as he inspected what’s left of his apple crop at DeVoe’s Rainbow Orchards in Halfmoon.
After the late freeze, his 40 acres was depleted to ten, and after that ten got hit with a heavy hail storm, he estimated he’s lost between 75 and 90 percent of this year's crop.
DeVoe said part of being a farmer is being able to roll with the punches, so this year, the orchard won't offer ‘pick your own’ apples.
“When you open it up for people to come, you can't turn them away,” DeVoe said.
Even though there will still be apples on their shelves, the experience won't be quite the same for customers.
“They're disappointed, but it comes with the season,” said Jasmine DeVoe, who works at the orchards.
While the DeVoe family faces one of its toughest years yet, another Saratoga County orchard is doing just fine.
The Lichtenfeld family is one of dozens filling their bags with apples picked right from the trees at Bowman's Orchard in Clifton Park.
“It's a family tradition. We go out to celebrate our mother’s birthday,” said Avital Lichtenfeld.
Her brother, Aryea chimed in, “We're going to different sections to pick apples.”
Kevin Bowman says he has a full crop thanks to the orchard's elevation, which kept it safe from the late freeze.
“Because of our height we tend to be very windy and the wind keeps the air mixed up so cold air doesn't get a chance to settle down,” he explained.
And as for the hail storm that hit DeVoe's, Bowman admitted he was lucky this year.
“We have had hail a half mile in both directions, so it missed us,” he said.
Meanwhile, DeVoe said he'll sell the damaged apples for cider and baked goods, and hope for better luck in the months ahead.
“Next year, next year, it will be a million dollars,” DeVoe said laughing.
As for some of the other orchards in the area: Indian Ladder Farms has also lost ninety percent of its crop and will offer at least two more days when customers can pick their own apples: September 22 and 23.
Altamont Orchards took such a hit they can't offer ‘pick your own’ at all.
But all of the farmers said they want customers to remember that they will have apples on their shelves, along with other fruits and vegetables, so don’t hesitate to make the trip to your local orchard.