MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Apple pickers are descending on New England's orchards for the early varieties as farmers around the region predict a strong rebound from a dismal 2012.
Weather conditions have been favorable to apple production this year, with minimal late frosts, a wet early summer and recent dry conditions. This contrasts with conditions a year ago when a warm late April brought apple blossoms but was followed by a killing frost.
The favorable outlook for apples seems to apply nationwide. Industry group USApple says the national apple crop is expected to be up 13 percent over 2012.
The No. 1 apple producer, Washington state, should see a drop below the five-year average. But No. 2 New York might jump 87 percent and No. 3 Michigan could rise nearly 1,000 percent over 2012.