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Orchards have best apple harvest in years

Apple growers say the weather and favorable conditions have contributed to the exceptional season.

LONGMONT, Colorado — Colorado natives know how apple trees don't necessarily ripen with fruit every year. In fact, growers know the Colorado conditions make it less than favorable for the crop in the West. 

Despite the challenges, growers remain optimistic every year that trees will return a harvest. It turns out 2021 has been the harvest many have been waiting for.

Sharon Perdue with Ya Ya Farm and Orchard in Longmont said this crop has been the best in nine years.

"This has been an amazing apple year," said Perdue. "I was looking back in the history, and I don't think I've had a crop like this since 2012. So it's definitely been a great year for the apples." 

Perdue has grown to understand the up's and down's of owning an orchard. 

"I always hope for a good year. It rarely happens," said Perdue. "I learned the hard way that one in three years, you're going to have nothing." 

Last year, her apples did not grow between all of the freezes and weather conditions. This year, the weather gave the trees blossomed after the freezes were over.

"This year, the blossoms were late because it had been so chilly so they were real happy when they did come out," said Perdue. 

The typical cold spell in September or October would usually kill the remaining harvest in the fall, but warm conditions have allowed the apples to continue to grow into the autumn months. 

Perdue also attributes no harvest last year as helping matters, saying she's noticed her trees tend to be more productive after they have an off year. 

Regular customers who return every year have also noticed the difference. 

"I came out here about four years ago when my second daughter was born," said Hannah Bechtold, who brought her four kids with her this time. "I remember it was a particularly bad year for them because apple season was already over. There weren’t any apples, so it’s fun to see that they are full." 

Perdue currently has no reservations for u-pick apples for the remainder of the season. However if apples are still on trees in two weeks, she will open u-pick to publicly for any visitors. No reservations will be necessary.