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Apple Orchards of Upstate New York

Last week I went to Upstate New York with the branch manager Tom Carter to visit clients in the region.  I was told Upstate New York was home to a lot of apple growers.  However, I did not expect that nearly every single tree in the region would be an apple tree.  As soon as we got out of the Adirondacks, the land literally opened up to hundreds of acres of apple orchards on either side of the highway.  The trip had wide range of goals.  We brought along a full pickup of products to deliver to growers.  At each stop, we talked to the growers about the kind year they were having and what kinds of difficulties they were having with their crop.  We also offered tissue and soil analysis and SmartFresh application for after harvest.

Cold damage to an apple

The first orchard that we stopped at was experiencing some cold damage and had one block that had a serious infection of apple scab.  We took some fruitlet samples at this orchard as well to see how well the plants were absorbing foliar applications of calcium fertilizer.  Forrence Orchards of Peru, New York was by far the largest orchard we stopped at.  They grew 1000 acres of apples.  We had lunch with Mason, Mack, and Seth Forrence, all of whom are Cornell graduates.  Our final stop was at Chazy Orchards in Chazy, NY.  The orchard is owned by the Giroux family that also owns Giroux’s Poultry Farm.  The size of this poultry farm can be seen as you drive along the main road in Chazy.  There are thousands of acres of corn fields and each grain of corn is combined to feed all of the birds.

At each stop, the growers were offered soil and tissue analysis.  I am going

Another example of cold damage

back up to the area in early August to collect samples for the growers that choose to have Helena conduct the analysis.  SmartFresh application was also offered.  SmartFresh is a chemical that blocks ethylene receptors in the fruit and slows the ripening process.  This allows fruit to be kept in controlled atmosphere storage for months at a time until the grower is ready to sell them.  It makes eating fresh apples in the middle of winter possible.

Growers had mixed messages about how their crop was doing.  All of the orchards we stopped at had fruit after a cold spell in early summer.  Some growers also had hail damage from a storm that happened before fruit set.  It was also the middle of a long hot spell in which the forecast had no rain.  Despite all the challenges of the year, many had reason for optimism.  Shortages of a crop in Michigan had everyone speculating

Apple scab on a leaf

about high prices.  There was even talk of juice fruit being at $0.30 a bushel.                                                                                                                                                                                                      At the end of the day, the trip served as a precursor to tissue sampling and offered me an extended view into the kinds of business that Helena Chemical conducts.  Being the distributor for New England and Eastern New York, the Hatfield branch conducts business with many diverse clients and offers many services that locations elsewhere may not.  Every day I leave the office tends to be another day that I learn something new.

Scab on a fruitlet

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