Apple crop expected to be small but sweet

  • Published in Local News
BELMONT — While it won't be the most bountiful year local apple growers have ever seen, the fruit to be picked will be some of the best quality at least one orchard has seen in a while.
For Rob Richter of Smith Farm on Leavitt Road, the May 7 frost cost him about 60-percent of his crop.
He said the warm spell in March and April "got his trees all excited" and then we got 26 degrees and "that's not so exciting."
But, said Richter, the 40-percent of the apples that grew are of top quality. He said they're big and they're sweet.
He said his smaller, younger trees did very well but some of the older trees behind the farm house have little to no fruit on them.
"They blossomed but we got no fruit," he said.
The one thing that will fall victim to Mother Nature is the school groups who usually get a day to come to Smith Farm and pick apples.
"For years we've done this but we won't be able to this year," he said explaining the crop isn't big enough and many of the apples are too high for the younger children to reach.
While MaIntosh are the apples New England is know for, Richter said he grows a variety including Courtland, delicious and Granny Smiths but this year's frost was an "equal opportunity frost" and didn't discriminate between varieties.
He said he had spoken with other apple growers in New York and New England and they are reporting similar experiences as he is.
"Fortunately the trees are rugged and suffered no long-term damage," he said.
Richter said Smith Farm will begin pick-your-own apples on Friday.

CAPTION: (Apples) Some nearly ripes apples grow at Smith Farm in Belmont. Most local apple growers have said the pick-your-own season will begin this weekend. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)