Strong Season for VA Apples Begins - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Strong Season for VA Apples Begins

Posted: Updated: 9/22/2013 6:44:03 PM
Hundreds celebrated the first day of fall picking apples at Carter Mountain Orchard. Hundreds celebrated the first day of fall picking apples at Carter Mountain Orchard.

Sunday is the first day of fall and central Virginia orchards are celebrating the start of a prime season for apple picking.

Rain can do a lot of damage to apple orchards, particularly if there is wind. But this year it's hard to know what is better: Virginia's apples or Virginia's peaches.

Like hundreds of other people, Matt Arnone spent the first day of fall at Carter Mountain Orchard, picking apples.

"The beginning of autumn means that we will be gorging ourselves on apples for the next two months or so," Arnone said.

It turns out central Virginia is having a record crop this year.

"The rain certainly was good for our apples this year," said Cynthia Chiles, a family owner of Carter Mountain Orchard. "It helped the trees grow a lot, the apples got good size to them. It's been a good crop so far."

Arnone tastes the difference.

"This season's apples are just tremendous because they are bigger and juicier and sweeter," he said.

The National Weather Service reports more than five extra inches of rain this year. That plus 150 growers in Virginia leads to a lot of low-hanging fruit

Rain doesn't always mean a bountiful crop; Chiles says it can weaken the trees' roots. But this season, rain has been good news for apple lovers.

"It certainly makes the apples nice and big. We will be picking apples all the way up to Thanksgiving," Chiles said.

Some of the families visiting the orchard said the apples looked so good, they had to try them right off the tree.

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