The cheeks are red, and the size is also okay: the apple harvest has begun in the Rhineland. And a little earlier than usual. Picking continues well into October. Growers have great hope.
Bonn (dpa / lnw) - The apple harvest has begun in the Rhineland. This year, the fruit will be brought in two weeks earlier than last year, according to the provincial association of Rheinischer fruit and vegetable growers in Bonn. The reason is the early flowering and the subsequent mild weather. There were no longer periods of cold, which would have slowed growth. Last year was a bit cool, but the start of the harvest is still a week ahead of the long-term average.
"We are assuming a good apple harvest," said Peter Muß from the Growers' Association. "Everyone is hoping that the weather will play along," he said, looking ahead to the coming months. Hail, for example, would damage the fruit. Therefore, more and more companies are starting to stretch protective hail nets over their apple trees.
The early apple varieties that cannot be stored for long are picked first. The harvest should be completed by mid-October: the 20 or so main varieties from professional cultivation ripen at different times. Harvesting of the important storage variety Elstar begins around August 20th. This variety alone accounts for almost a quarter of the cultivation area in Germany. Other important varieties are Gala, Braeburn and Boskoop.
"The harvest expectations are good, the quality expectations are good," said Stefan Klein. The harvest of the early apple varieties has just begun at his farm in Bornheim, north of Bonn.
The Rhineland is the fourth largest apple-growing region in Germany. Around 4.7 million apple trees grow in NRW on almost 2000 hectares, more than two thirds of them in the administrative district of Cologne. Cultivation of the Germans’ favorite type of fruit has changed over the past few decades. While large trees used to be used for commercial cultivation, there are now comparatively small trees that are only three to four meters high. Fruit can usually be picked by hand.