ETNA - Apple picking season is just days away, with reports indicating a good season compared to 2012. However, some orchards are doing better than others.
"We're used to a pretty good crop where a lot of people would come, but so far this year we have some problems with scabs and the shortage of Macintosh," Mike Parsons, the third generation and former owner of Conant's Apple Orchard, says.
At Conant's Apple Orchard in Etna, the amount of rain over the past few months has put a damper on the harvest for the 2013 apple picking season.
The crop yield is variable across the state, though southern Maine is looking to have an above average year.
"The weather during pollination was very good when trees were in bloom in southern Maine, and then a week later trees in northern Maine came into bloom when there was a long period of rainy, cold weather," Dr. Renae Moran, a tree fruit specialist at U-Maine, says.
But despite the obstacles facing Conant's, it says there are plenty of apples still available to pick.
"Cortlands, the Empires, Honeycrip... all the early apples turned out fine. Those are all gone now, so now we're into the fall apples," Mike says.
"What we do have is great. Just because of the rain there's a little bit of scab, but that won't hurt anybody. Just peel it off and keep going," Danielle Parsons, the fourth generation and current part-owner of Conant's, says.
And you may be able to do this sooner than expected.
"The apples seem to be ripening about a week ahead of average," Dr. Moran explains.
"My gut tells me it is a little bit early, and things are going to happen a little earlier this year, but we'll have to wait and see," Mike says.
So if you're ready to make some apple pie, apple cider, apple sauce make sure you get to an orchard near you!
If you're unsure where the closest apple orchard is, visit MaineApples.org for a statewide directory.