A ‘Most Beautiful Crop;’ Apples are Ripe for Picking in Westford

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The red apples pop against the green leaves. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE

The red apples pop against the green leaves. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE

 

The apples at Hill Orchard are redder this year than last. They pop against the green leaves and almost mesmerize the viewer, the result of three weeks of cool evenings and warm days, said manager David Dumaresq.

“It’s probably one of the most beautiful crops in years,” he said. “…the ginger gold apples– because of those cold nights — got this pinkish gold color. The Mcintoshes are the reddest color I’ve ever seen.”

Measured in pounds, this year’s crop amounts to 10.4 billion, down from last year’s 11.3 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Dumaresq, who bills himself as Farmer Dave, said Hill Orchard’s output was better in 2015. He is the owner of Brox Farm in Dracut.

Michel Mathaus is visiting from Rio Verde University in Brazil where he is a graduate student. He is doing an agricultural internship in the United States. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE

Michel Mathaus is visiting from Rio Verde University in Brazil where he is a graduate student. He is doing an agricultural internship in the United States. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE

“This year we had a lot of rain, but it didn’t penetrate the ground,” he said. “You really need an inch-and-a-half to really soak into the ground.”

Perhaps this year’s is not a bumper crop in terms of numbers, but there are plenty of apples for picking: gravensteins, paula reds, cortlands, galas, and honey crisps, to name a few.

Apples are available inside the Hill Orchard farm stand. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE

Apples are available inside the Hill Orchard farm stand. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE

The pear crop is also coming in. Dumaresq’s workers, Michel Mathaus, an agricultural intern from the University of Rio Verde in Brazil, and Ricky Beezer of Dracut were in the field on Sept. 21 picking Bosc pears. There are also Asians and seckels available at the farmstand.

Boxc pears for sale. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE

Bosc pears for sale. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE

The orchard at Hunt and Chamberlain Roads is open for apple picking on weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The fee is $10 for a half peck; $20 for a peck; and $30 for a bushel.

Ricky Beezer of Dracut pulls a pear from its branch. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE

Ricky Beezer of Dracut pulls a pear from its branch. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE

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