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WNC Business

Apples Are Plentiful in Hendersonville During 2022 Season

Sep 01, 2022 11:18AM ● By Randee Brown

The 2022 apple crop in Henderson County will bring much-needed relief to area farmers as well as the local economy.

Apples can bring in close to $30 million annually for Henderson County, which grows more than half of all of North Carolina’s apples. In 2021, however, many farmers lost the majority of their crop, putting a damper on their businesses as well as impacting the county and even the state’s economy as a whole. Millions of pounds of apples were lost last year as a result of a long Easter weekend freeze. Temperatures got down to a low of 22 degrees, then remained in the 20 degree range for several nights in a row. This destroyed the existing blooms, thereby eliminating around 80% of apples for the 2021 harvest season.

The impact was also felt outside of the farms as prices spiked and the supply chain was disrupted. Businesses that purchase local apples in bulk had to look elsewhere to find the product that they needed, and laborers that annually travel to our area to help pick apples were out of a job for the season.

Luckily, 2022’s weather has been kinder to our area orchards. Last winter provided just the right amount of chill days for the trees. Blossoms appeared after the last of the hard freezes. The spring started out dry, but more rains came during the second half of the growing season, balancing the early drought and helping to produce big, juicy fruits abundant on Henderson County’s trees. 

Not only is this season’s crop producing more apples, it is producing a wider variety as well. Several apple varieties were entirely wiped out last year, and in 2022 both wholesale and retail customers have a wider selection of flavors, colors, and textures to choose from.

The season’s sweet bounty is also offering Western North Carolina some economic relief. Since losing approximately $20 million dollars last year, a plentiful crop is providing a much-needed boost to our area’s apple growers as well as increasing the supply for local cideries who use local apples in their product. This year’s abundant crop also invites more tourists to visit the area for their opportunity to enjoy U-Pick apples, cider, pies, donuts, festivals, and the family-friendly activities offered at local orchards. Overall, the healthy and productive crop has a tremendous positive effect on the area’s economy on many levels.

Several local orchards are open and ready for all of the apple-hungry customers to visit and pick their own apples, an activity that was extremely hard to come by last year. Individual orchard websites often have schedules of which varieties are ripe for the picking week by week, as well as operating hours and a list of extra activities, bakery hours, and directions. A simple Google search of Henderson County apple orchards will provide a wide selection of websites and information for area visitors.