Apple Crop Small, Demand Big In Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — There won’t be many spare apples around Tennessee this fall, University of Tennessee fruit specialists said Monday.

 Dr. Robert Jenkins, a UT agricultural economist, said a smaller than normal crop — especially in East Tennessee — and greater demand make a surplus of extra apples in Tennessee unlikely.

 “In early spring, frost killed almost all the peaches. So in Tennessee, consumers have been pretty hungry for some kind of fresh fruit,” Jenkins said. “Because of this, the demand for apples has been phenomenal.”

 Jenkins said Tennessee farmers should be able to meet that demand, but with little to spare.

 Dr. David Lockwood, a fruit specialist for UT’s Agricultural Extension Service, said Tennessee will harvest about 80 percent of the normal apple crop. Most of the loss is due to late freezes in East Tennessee in February, he said.

 Another reason for the smaller than usual crops may be that bees are being killed by mites, causing fewer blooms to be pollinated, Lockwood said.

 Tennessee had above-average apple crops last year. Back-to-back years of such large harvests are rare, he said.

 “The reduction of apples isn’t enough to cause alarm,” Lockwood said. “There are still plenty of apples out there.”

 Contact: Dr. Robert Jenkins (423-974-7271) or  Dr. David Lockwood (423-974-7208)