Spring is here, New York state’s apple trees announce

Fishers, N.Y. – New Yorkers, it’s now official: winter is over and spring has arrived, announced by the arrival of apple blossoms across the state.

Ushered in by recent warm temperatures, apple trees will be full bloom across the Hudson Valley early this week, reports New York Apple Association (NYAA). Trees will be in full bloom shortly thereafter across central and western New York. The Lake Champlain area, the state’s northernmost growing region, will soon follow. The whole riotously colorful show will be over before Memorial Day this year.

“Grab your cameras and take a drive this weekend, we’ve got more than 11 million trees across the state and they are putting on a gorgeous show right now,” said NYAA President Jim Allen. “With the recent great weather, this will be a vintage bloom.”

The state’s apple trees generally didn’t mind last winter’s cold temperatures and snow. In fact, apple trees actually need a certain number of “chilling hours” before they can develop next year’s buds, notes Allen. That said, the humans who tend those trees are glad to see spring after a hard winter.

“We’re about as far north as any grower in the state, so we can vouch for the winter hardiness of apple trees,” said NYAA Chairman Will Gunnison, vice president of Gunnison Lakeshore Orchards in Crown Point, N.Y. “On the other hand, I have to say I was pretty happy to see the mercury come up.”

This year’s bloom is actually slightly ahead of the 2014 bloom, which was two weeks behind the perennial schedule. A late spring means less chance of crop-damaging frost such as New York saw statewide in 2012. Apple buds progress from dormant brown tips to green tips, to bright pink clusters as the buds start to open, to full white flowers.

2014 crop will be sold out before the fall harvest
NYAA’s Allen reports that about one-sixth of the state’s 2014 crop is being held in storages around the state, awaiting sale. Most of those apples are being stored in controlled-atmosphere storage facilities, which best maintains a just-picked eating experience. While some varieties have sold out, New York favorites such as McIntosh and Braeburn are still available, as is the baker’s favorite Rome apple.

“The 2014 New York state apple crop will sell out well before harvest starts this fall, so apple fans who haven’t had their fill yet will want to stock up now,” said Allen.

Allen noted that many state retailers have shown strong support for New York state apples this crop year, promoting local apples in spite of tremendous pressure from a flood of apples from Washington state.

Note to editors:
• Photos are available to support this story via NYAA’s Flickr photo-sharing site. NYAA grants permission for use of our photos in editorial coverage.
• To get a bloom update from a grower in your area, consult NYAA’s spokesgrower list.