Minnesota apple growers expect bountiful harvest

It looks like a good year to be an apple lover in Minnesota.

Apple growers told Minnesota Public Radio News they’re looking forward to an exceptional harvest. It would be welcome news after the previous year, when spring temperature swings killed off many blossoms.

“This year we have nice, well-balanced crop loads on the trees,” said Fred Wescott, who owns an orchard near Elgin in southeastern Minnesota. “The fruit size is good. Last year, there were some trees without any fruit on and other trees had fruit, it’s a much better situation. It’s 180-degree turnaround from last year’s crop.”

This year’s harvest will be about two weeks late due to cool, rainy weather in May. But despite the late start, University of Minnesota horticultural scientist Jim Luby estimated that the state’s roughly 150 apple growers would produce nearly 20 million pounds of fruit this year. That’s up from last year, when overall production was down about 50 percent.

“The flavor should be good here as they ripen,” Luby said.