Illinois apple orchards' picking season shortened by extreme weather

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019
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This year's extreme weather has some Illinois farmers warning of slim pickings at local apple orchards.

DEKALB COUNTY, Ill. (WLS) -- Some Illinois farmers are warning of slim pickings at local apple orchards because of 2019's extreme weather. Some orchards are starting the picking season early, or ending it early, or not opening at all.

The decrease in apple yield is due to a series of weather events that began in with the record cold of the late January polar vortex.

That was followed by a cold and snowy spring, and finally a couple of major hail storms. The damage from the hail was specific to the trees that were flowering at the time, and those are the varieties of apples whose crops are greatly reduced now in the fall.

Some orchards in McHenry County have postponed picking until late September. Honey Hill farm in Waterman still has a fair amount of apple, but the picking season will be shorter.

Some farmers said this is the first time they have seen a year where the apple crop was so badly affected by weather.

But at this moment, in mid-September, there are plenty of ripe apples, which is good for anyone who enjoys picking their own.