‘It’s looking like a much better year than last’: NH farmers optimistic about 2024 season

Frost russeting covers one of the remaining Paula red apples at Riverview Farm in Plainfield, N.H., on Wednesday, August 16, 2023. The farm will make use of their surviving apples, primarily pressing them to make cider. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Frost russeting covers one of the remaining Paula red apples at Riverview Farm in Plainfield, N.H., on Wednesday, August 16, 2023. The farm will make use of their surviving apples, primarily pressing them to make cider. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news file

By KATE DARIO

New Hampshire Public Radio

Published: 06-06-2024 3:57 PM

Last year, extreme temperature swings wiped out entire apple and peach crops across New Hampshire. This spring and early summer things are looking different.

“There are enough apples that growers are currently having to thin their apples so more fruit on the trees than we need for a full crop,” said Jeremy Delisle, a field specialist for the University of New Hampshire’s Cooperative Extension.

Many farmers are still digging out of the red after last year. Recent state policies around crop loss relief and organic certification further upset many struggling growers.

But 2024’s relatively calm weather so far has been a welcome relief for many.

“We had a fairly mild winter this year, and so most of our fruiting crops came through that in really good shape,” Delisle said. “We also had good weather during pollination, and so we have a really good fruit set overall ranging from small fruits through to tree fruit.”

“Fingers crossed it's looking like a much better year than last,” said Madison Hardy, president of the New Hampshire Fruit Growers Association.

Jessica McQuesten of McQuesten Farm in Litchfield said her strawberries are looking great this year. She had to replant the entire strawberry field after losing the entire patch last year.

“We could use a little bit of more water, but we have that coming this week, so everything's looking good so far,” she said.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Hanover to temporarily close portion of Allen Street to vehicles
Young bear spotted relaxing on a hammock in a Vermont yard
Dollar store under construction in Royalton
Mother bear euthanized, cubs sent to rehab facility after close encounters in Bartlett, N.H.
Bike Week at Weirs Beach is for old leather and new friends
Protests of president punctuate rainy graduation for Dartmouth’s Class of ’24

Bob Frizzell, who owns Peachblow Farm in Charlestown, also lost most of his strawberries last summer. He said some of the effects from last year’s heavy rain are still affecting some plants, but overall his crops are looking better.

“So far,” he said. “You never know what's going to happen tomorrow.”

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.