Last week, we reported that the fate of this season’s Gala apple crop hung in the balance. Galas are particularly vulnerable to rain around picking time (too much moisture makes their stems crack, rendering them unfit for retail at grocery stores or farmers markets), and picking time coincided with Hurricane Irene. Sidney Kuhn of Kuhn Orchards, a frequent vendor at D.C.-area farmers markets, told the Market Report that the race was on in central Pennsylvania to save the Galas before the rains drowned them.
So how did the Galas make out? No official word yet. Kuhn says tireless picking Friday and Saturday and less rain than expected helped spare her orchard’s Galas. “So far we haven’t seen a lot of cracking,” she says. She hears less good news from her neighbors, some of whom saw more than half of their Gala stems cracked by Irene’s waters.
No more firm news from the U.S. Apple Association. Director of communications Mark Gedris says he’s solicited reports from major apple-producing states in the storm’s path, including Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York. “Haven’t heard anything back too negative and serious yet,” Gedris says, though he has yet to get much response out of upstate New York.
“We are monitoring it very carefully,” Gedris says. “According to our projections, we’re looking at a pretty decent crop this year. We don’t want to lose any of that momentum that we’ve grown.” He promises updates as the fate of this season's Galas becomes more clear.