Drought
12:21 pm
Sat August 4, 2012

Hot summer means early, sweeter apple crop in Illinois

With hotter-than-usual temperatures, orchards in southern Illinois are reporting their apple crops are weeks ahead of schedule.

Tom Range of Braeutigam Orchards in Belleville says they picked Gala apples last week. Normally they pick them in the middle of August.

Another surprise this year - the sugar content of the fruit is very high, making for sweeter fruit.

Sherry Chase of Mills Apple Farm in Marine explains that the apples "tend to be sweeter because the sugars are more concentrated."

She says the farm started picking Gingergold apples the second week of July.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that pick-your-own orchards may be in trouble if the heat causes apples to fall before they're picked.

Chase says some rainfall would be a big help.