Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Pick-your-own orchards close early

By Katie Landeck

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At many local apple orchards, the pick-your-own season is already over.

Hard frosts in the start of the spring severely damaged many crops this year, causing many orchards to end the season early or not open up for picking at all.

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Normally open for self-picking through the end of October, Atkins Farms, located at the junction of Route 116 and Bay Road in Amherst, already closed their orchard for the season, according to the store’s accounts receivable Kim MacDonald.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have a pick-your-own orchard,” MacDonald said.

And Atkins isn’t the only one.

The answering machine message for Small Ones Farm, located at 416 Bay Road, in Amherst, drily tells perspective pickers, “no pick-your-own is available this year,” a message that has been disappointing to many valley residents.

“We get a lot of calls from people asking about the you-pick orchard, the majority of which are near the weekend,” MacDonald said. “It’s very disappointing to them.”

The weather has left the apples discolored and misshaped, with unusual bulges and discolored patches.

“What it is, is that they look awful,” MacDonald said. “They would probably taste fine, but no one wants to eat them.”

This is the second year in a row Atkins Farms has had to end its season early, with last year’s dry weather hurting the crops.

“This is pretty rare, especially to get two years in a row,” MacDonald said.

Crops have been affected throughout the Eastern part of the country by the spring frosts, with farmers in Michigan calling it a rotten season, according to WZZM 13, a television station in Michigan.

More than 90 percent of the harvest was lost due to the spring weather in Michigan.

Despite the pick-your-own orchards being closed, apples are still available at local farm stands.

Atkins Farms’ staff-harvested crops are “doing really well,” MacDonald said, and are available for sale at the store. Small Ones Farm is also still selling apples at its farm stand.

Katie Landeck can be reached at [email protected]

 

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