How about them apples? Recent rain helps Maine apple crop

Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 4:57 PM EDT
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MONROE, Maine (WABI) - Many apple orchards are opening for the season, a sure sign summer is ending.

But, how is the crop doing following a dry summer season?

TV5 visited Hooper’s Orchard Thursday to find out.

They’ve grown immensely in their 25 years. In 1998, they started with just 15 apple trees. Now, they have more than 3,000.

“It wasn’t in the plan, but it just happened. As we get people to come that come in and enjoy picking, we just add to it,” said owner, Benjamin Hooper. “We have 75 varieties. We have apples we’ve collected from all over the world.”

Hooper has been planting apple trees since he was a kid.

He’s turned a passion for farming into a full-time gig, growing everything from fruit to peppers to corn and everything in between.

While the corn season has wrapped up, the apple season is picking up.

The Hooper’s farm is located on 319 acres in Monroe. 25 of them are all apple trees.

“Every week we get three or four, up to 10 varieties ready,” said Hooper, “The peak being mid-September to late September, we will have our fall apples. Honeycrisp starts picking the 24th.”

Hooper says the season is behind by about five days due to the dry weather, but the recent three inches of rain really helped the crop.

“We were nervous until we got the rain, but now, everything is sized up,” he said.

While the crop is looking good, be prepared to shell out a few more dollars at the stands this year.

“Our fertilizer went from $300 a ton to over $1,000, and so, triple and quadruple prices for energy,” he explained. “But, we’re basically maintaining the same price. We’ve gone up I think by about 5%.”

Hooper’s Orchard is typically open until the first week of November, but the past few years, they’ve sold out by the end of October.

“We will pick for people on request, but we encourage families to get out and get out there and take a bite of one, and find out what you like the taste of, and take a bag,” he said.

Hooper’s Orchard is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

And mark your calendars - Maine Apple Sunday is on September 18th.

Apple orchards from Wells to Caribou will celebrate by offering special activities and free samples of apple products.