Record year at local apple orchard

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HOLLAND, Ohio (13abc Action News) - This summer's weather has meant different things for different crops around our region. When it comes to apples, it's been a banner year. The MacQueen family has been growing apples since 1936, and this year's crop will be the largest in history.

The trees are packed with apples.Jeff MacQueen has been part of his family's orchards for five decades, "This is what we call an inside-outside crop, That means there are apples all the way to the trunk of the trees and that puts a lot of bushels out."

This is busy season at MacQueen Orchards and this year is a record breaker, "We will exceed 100,000 bushels this year. What is your average? About 80,000 bushels. So a big difference. Yes!"

So what's behind the bumper crop? Bob MacQueen says the answer is simple. The weather was perfect for pollination and timing was everything,"We had a bit of a dry spell in May and then just as we were starting to stress out, we picked up some moisture. From there on out we got the rain we needed."

And if you thought the border battle was just for the Ohio State Michigan game on the gridiron, Bob says think again,"Overall I think the entire Ohio crop was good this year. Michigan is our biggest competitor and they're sitting on one of their biggest crops ever too."

But even with the record crop, Jeff says the harvest will be delayed a bit, "This apple should be 100% red right now. If you turn it, you can see it is still grass green. It still has 10 days to 2 weeks left to go before we can pick it."

That's because of the warm weather we have now. Jeff says the apples need cooler nights and sunshine with temperatures in the 70s during the day, "This 85 degree weather and sun is taking the color off the apple. So we are just waiting for the color and it's just not there yet."

Bob says that should happen in the next few weeks, "Hopefully we can finish the harvest in late October or early November. Before the snow flies is always a plus."

Once they are harvested, the MacQueen apples end up at their store as well as at local groceries and markets. They can also be found at national chains like Kroger and Walmart.

A big celebration of everything apple is right around the corner. The Apple Butter Festival and Craft Show is set for October 1st and 2nd.
MacQueen Orchards is on Garden Road near the corner of Gunn in Holland. The event will feature kids activities like pony rides, sand art and face painting as well as all kinds of food and entertainment.