Reed, of Martinsburg, W.Va., an apple picker of more
than 30 years, harvests Gala apples at Marker-Miller
Orchards near Winchester, Va., on Tuesday. Gala is one
of the first varieties harvested. Growers in the
northern Shenandoah Valley are expecting an average size
harvest this year.
Wisconsin apple growers had an unusually heavy harvest last
year, which they feared might lead to lower output this year.
But the trees seem to have caught up enough that this year's
crop should be good or even above average.
produced 41.7 million pounds of apples last year. That was an
18 percent increase from the 2012 growing season, which had
been hampered when an early thaw was followed by frost and
drought, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
harvest in 2013 left trees depleted, and the extreme winter
further taxed the orchards, said Anna Maenner, the executive
director of the 175-member Wisconsin Apple Growers
Association. However, this season is shaping up to be a good
one, she added.
though the trees appeared to be a bit behind, they're catching
up," Maenner said. "Things are looking really good.
We were a little apprehensive earlier in the season, but it's
looking good right now."
harvests are just beginning across the state. Many orchards
opened Saturday for customers to pick their own, a news outlet
Steve Louis expects to harvest about 70,000 bushels of apples
off 170 acres near Richland Center, about an average output.
He says he's less concerned about the harvest than about
finding people willing to pick apples.
paid by the bushel and make an average of $12 to $14 per hour,
and the faster workers can make as much as $25 per hour. But
the labor force just isn't around, including a lack of migrant
workers, he said.
year, we had to beg and beg and beg and we still couldn't get
local people," Louis said. "It's just different work
than people aren't used to doing."