Heavy Rains Split Local Apple Harvest - Literally

Aug 18, 2016

Last weekend's excessive rain is hurting some local apple harvests.

Credit Jennifer Fuller, WSIU

"My father and I had a discussion, and he says he's been harvesting crops for 50 years, and he's never encountered a rain like this before in the month of August."

Wayne Sirles with Rendleman Orchards says their Gala apples are splitting open while they're still on the trees - a result of too much water coming too quickly.
"We were literally harvesting galas before the rain, and trying to get as many off the tree as we could when we saw the forecast. However, we were not able to get them all completed before the rain came. So they were at their most vulnerable time, because they were at their peak for harvest."

Workers sort the good apples from the bad at Rendleman Orchards
Credit Jennifer Fuller, WSIU

Sirles says he expects more than half of the Gala apples will have to be used for applesauce, cider, and other products because they can't be sold.

"Sometimes, these oddities happen with Mother Nature, and there really isn't a single thing you can do about it."

Other apple varieties weren't hurt as much by the rain - because they're at different stages of maturity - but Sirles says they're keeping a close watch on the crop just to be safe.