Niagara Gazette —
One of the most important things to know, said several local growers, is that all apples are not ready at all times.
“Contrary to what most people believe, you can’t just come and pick a little bit of everything,” said Carol Murphy of Murphy Orchards in Burt. “People say, ‘Well, I like sour apples.’ But an unripe apple is not sour, it’s bitter, and you don’t want any part of that.”
Most orchards plant accordingly to stagger their crop, “so that you can keep your employees busy all season, but not overwhelmed all season,” Murphy said. As she spoke Sept. 11, Murphy Orchards was coming up on the time for McIntosh, Macoun, Greening and Cortland apples. By today, Ida Reds and Empires would be on the horizon.
Vizcarra said that Becker Farms would likely be looking now at McIntosh, Cortland and Macoun apples, with Empire, Red and Gold Delicious and Jonagold in October.
“If you’re going picking and you want a certain variety, you should call and find out when it’s being picked,” she said. “If apples are ready, if we don’t pick them, they’ll pick themselves. They fall to the ground. It’s not like we can leave them there for a couple months.
“People think if they’re in the store all at the same time, they’ll be on the trees at the same time.”
The time of year a given variety of apple is harvested also coincides with its texture, and hence, how long it can be stored.
“Early apples will not last very long. They get soft quickly. They’re not as dense,” Murphy said. “They’re wonderful and crisp off the tree, but they won’t retain that crispness for a long time. Later apples retain that quality, that crispness for a long time”