NH apple growers anticipate bumper crop this year
BY JOHN QUINN
Union Leader Correspondent | September 04. 2013 6:26PM
Gov. Maggie Hassan celebrates the fifth annual New England Apple Day by picking McIntosh apples at Butternut Farm in Farmington Wednesday. She encourages residents and visitors to visit local farm stands and orchards across the state this season. (JOHN QUINN PHOTO)
Unfortunately for Hassan and her husband, Tom, who loves fresh apple pie, she was only able to pick a few apples and peaches at Butternut Farm's orchard as part of the fifth annual New England Apple Day celebration Wednesday.
Hassan said she appreciated the hard work of apple producers, including Giff and Mae Burnap, who own the farm at 195 Meaderboro Road. She said that more than 200 farms and orchards produce food, contribute to the economy and draw visitors to the area, providing $12 million annually to the state.
After warmer winter weather affected last year's apple crop, Giff Burnap has high expectations for this season, which began Aug. 10 when they began picking Jersey McIntoshes. He said they planted about 25 varieties of apples to carry them through the fall.
Other orchards have also gotten a good start on the apple season.
"We have 24 kinds of apples," said Diana Russell, manager at Demeritt Hill Farm on Route 155 in Lee.
"The trees are loaded," Russell said, noting many people want to pick a variety of apples for snacking, baking and preserving.
While visitors can find plenty of McIntosh, Cortland and Gala apples at McKenzie's Farm, on Northeast Pond Road off Route 125 in Milton, other varieties require a frost to make them naturally crisp, according to owner Brett McKenzie.
Nonetheless, McKenzie said they will direct customers to the best options throughout the season. He said other fruits, vegetables and apple products, such as freshly baked cider doughnuts and cider, are available.
As the weather has provided the right combination of rain and sunshine earlier this year, McKenzie expects to take advantage of the great season.