WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (WETM) – For the Twin Tiers, this summer has been abnormally dry compared to previous years, which makes the upcoming fall season more difficult for some harvests in the region.
The Elmira-Corning Regional Airport reported 1.54 inches of monthly rainfall for July 2022, which is nearly 1.8 inches less than the normal amount. Records say that Steuben, Chemung, and Schuyler are among the counties in the Twin Tiers with the lowest rainfall amounts.
Throughout the region, the ongoing dry weather is affecting crop fields, including corn, grapes, pumpkins, and just recently, apples. Apples and Moore near Watkins Glen, for example, is one of the apple harvests that is facing this issue, but thankfully, it is not as bad as the drought from 2020.
“If you want to compare it, this is nowhere near as bad as two years ago,” said Alec Moore, owner of Apples and Moore. “The effect of the drought has not been super impactful on me, but fruit size is tougher to get when it’s this dry out.”
Alec adds that dry weather can make the apples not as big as people would normally like them. During the last two to four weeks before they are ripe, apples need higher amounts of water to reach their normal size before being picked, but the lack of rain has prevented that.
Too much fruit or leaves on one plant can also affect the size of some apples. The apples that catch more rain have a better chance of growing compared to the apples below them.
In some cases, drier and smaller apples can taste better because too much rain can water down the flavor. Be sure to ask your local harvest which plants likely have the best apples before you pick them.