A cold, wet May meant fewer crops were pollinated by bees
From shooting them out of a cannon to distilling them down to a cider, Western New York apple farmers have found many ways to make use of their crops. But this year, as farmers go through harvest season, some say there’s been a catch.
"I think, overall, the crop load in general has been a little bit lighter," said Dale Wickham, of Wickham Farms in Penfield.
Wickham says it’s not just a problem for him, as just a few miles away in Williamson, Wayne County, the crops at DeFisher Fruit Farms are feeling light too.
"We normally have 100 percent of crops," said owner Dave DeFisher. "This year we're probably down to 60 percent of our crop."
DeFisher and Wickham say a cold, wet May scared off the bees, That means fewer crops were pollinated and that mix caused some spots to simply not bloom.
Wickham says it's a problem farmers have faced before.
"Some years you'll have great crops, some years you'll be a little light on certain trees," remarked Wickham.
DeFisher, who also owns and operates Rootstock Cider, says the shortage is impacting only a few specific types of apples, but the sting will be passed on to apple fans.
"That reduction in crops basically equates to higher prices," said DeFisher. "The apple market is going to be higher this year."
Wickham says that while quantity may be down a bit, the quality of the apples you pick or drink is still high.
In the meantime, the best thing farmers say they can do is hope for the best next spring.
"We're going to enjoy the apples we have while we have them, and let it go where it goes," Wickham said.
DeFisher says farmers will know just how much apple prices will rise next month.