The drought conditions Connecticut experienced this summer did a number on the fruit crop, which means your family apple and pumpkin picking experience might be a bit different this year.
“Generally, the dry weather has impacted the fruit. Smaller size on the apples -- we're seeing that on the pears. Peaches ironically were really good size this year,” said John Lyman, the part-owner and executive vice president of Lyman Orchards.
Lyman Orchards in Middlefield experienced very dry conditions in July and did get a couple of needed rain showers in August, according to Lyman. With Connecticut experiencing the hottest August on record, it had even more of an effect on the pumpkins.
“I think what happened with the pumpkins is during the real hot, hot weather during when they were blooming, sometimes it can be too hot, and they don't set. You know, pollen's not viable when it's so hot. The bees aren't necessarily as effective when it's so hot. So, I think that's part of it. Then, the stress on the plants if it's been really, really dry,” said Lyman.
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Despite the weather, Lyman said the orchard still has a wide variety of apples to choose from. Apple picking is already available and with early, mid-season, and late varieties of apples spanning acres, there will still be plenty for families to choose from.
As for the pumpkins, there are fewer this year. Lyman said maybe this is the year to pick a pumpkin a bit earlier while there’s still a good selection. Pumpkin picking will open at Lyman’s in mid-September.
Customers who spoke with NBC Connecticut said they were pleased with the selection of apples and pears right now.
“You wouldn't even notice it. There's more fruit on these trees. I can't believe it. And it's all in really nice shape too. It's great, really is,” said Bob Jensen, who drove from Ansonia to pick his own fruit.