Growers report a good crop as state’s 2014 apple harvest gets underway. Virginia Grown apples are ripe and ready—for picking, for purchasing and of course, for eating. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) reports the outlook for the 2014 apple crop is very good. The state’s growers have been harvesting apples since August when the earliest varieties started ripening, but the Commonwealth’s apple season is now coming into its prime. Orchards will pick an abundance of fresh, Virginia apples through November. And thanks to today’s advanced storage technologies, growers can assure freshness and availability nearly year-round.
Growers representing the state’s three major apple-growing areas, Southwest, Central and the Northern Shenandoah Valley, anticipate a very good apple harvest this year. Overall, conditions were favorable for an abundant crop with good taste, size and color. “There are plenty of delicious apples available in Virginia,” said VDACS Commissioner Sandra J. Adams. “The Commonwealth is the sixth-largest U.S. apple-growing state, so there are many consumers in our region, country and around the globe who look forward to Virginia Grown apples each year.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), apples were Virginia’s 15th largest agricultural commodity with farm cash receipts totaling $54 million in 2012. In 2014, the USDA expects Virginia apple production to total 180 million pounds. The Commonwealth is home to more than 150 commercial apple growers, as well as many pick-your-own farms that sell directly to the consumer.
Nothing beats the crisp, crunchy and sweet taste of Virginia Grown apples. Because the state grows so many varieties, there is an excellent selection throughout the season. Ginger Gold and Gala apples were harvested in August. Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Jonathan apples are typically picked in September. In October and into early November, many fall favorites are harvested including Rome, Stayman, York, Winesaps, Granny Smith and Fuji apples.
Virginia offers many ways to celebrate this favorite fall fruit, including orchards and festivals that feature pick-your-own apples, a selection of ready-picked varieties and apple products such as apple butter, sauce, syrup, jelly and cider. Consumers may search for orchards, events and apple recipes online at www.VirginiaGrown.com andwww.VirginiaApples.net. VDACS encourages consumers to call ahead to confirm fruit availability and hours of operation.