By David Schuman

JORDAN, Minn. (WCCO) — Several Minnesota apple orchards open to the public next month for picking, but the selection on the trees is looking to be slimmer than in past summers due to the drought conditions we’re seeing.

At Minnesota Harvest in Jordan, Cody Cook, the assistant manager, says there are sections of trees with a quarter of the expected apple yield.

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“It’s kind of a statewide concern as far as the other orchards we’ve talked to,” Cook said.

Cook says the dryness has brought out more pesticide-resistant moths than usual that can infect the crop.

There was also a late spring cold snap that Cook says decimated a lot of their early growth.

“We lost a good couple hundred trees,” he said. “Just all the apples, they were black, so we’re not going to get anything from any of those.”

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Minnesota Harvest sells wholesale to many of the Twin Cities’ major supermarket chains too.

Cook says the issues in the orchard now could get passed along to shoppers later.

“It’s going to be a problem this year for quantity, and you might see an increase in price in the end,” he said. “We always have to prepare and pick those [apples] ahead of time.”

Like orchard owners, agriculture leaders at the state level are watching drought conditions closely.

“Farmers are resilient, they’re creative and we’ll find a way to get through this,” said Thom Petersen, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner.

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Minnesota Harvest opens for apple picking in mid-August. Orchard staff say they’ll have enough apples for that to go off without a hitch.

David Schuman