Late snow means apple peddling is in full bloom

September 14, 2018 02:08 PM

KINDERHOOK – Two benches and plenty of pedals. You see them at the beach and the Samascott family thought it would be a good addition to their 200-acre farm this season.

"They're $10 an hour, ride them all around," said Jake Samascott. "There's a basket on the back so you can pick your strawberries and raspberries and get some apples and pumpkins, load them up and ride back out here and pay for everything you pick."

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It's a new way to attract customers for the traditional "pick-your-own" season. The fourth generation of Samascotts were all running around the parking lot as toddlers and now run the place.

"It's a great family tradition, we have a lot of families that have been coming here for 30-40 years so their kids are now bringing their kids," he said. "It's great to see the families and generations come."

Just up the road in Valatie, a team of welders is custom crafting the final pieces of a brand new cider press at Golden Harvest. They've invested close to $1 million in new equipment including the press and distillery.

"We've been gearing up for months for this," said Derek Grout, marketing manager of Golden Harvest. "We've been investing in new cold-storage rooms, new compressors, new tractors. Just on and on, the list goes on."

They have 20 varieties of apples coming in waves. First up are Gala, Honeycrisp and McIntosh. He says the late winter snow, fickle spring and high heat and humidity and rain of the summer helped the apples.

"Some mild winters, the trees will come out of their dormant period too early and then a cold snap will make all the blossoms drop," Grout said. "So we didn't have that this year. We have a nice, good fruit set."

And in Clifton Park, Riverview Orchards is boasting large, red apples and says the weather was good.

"Part of the summer was really wet and part of it was really dry. It all kind of evened out in the end and made for a good apple crop," said Isabel Prescott, Riverview's owner. They host the 26th Farm Fest this weekend.

"We have free hayrides, the Rotary is coming with country food, we have music, we'll have some pumpkin decorating, it'll be a lot of fun," she said.

"A late winter is good for us even if everyone wants spring to come. Early spring is really what hurts us because we get the trees flowering and then we get that late frost where everything freezes," said Samascott. "So a late winter is actually better for tree fruit."


WNYT Staff

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