(MONDAMIN, IA) There's no debate about this. Last year Iowa's apple crop didn't fare well.
Many apple farmers even had to buy the fruit from other farmers around the country just to keep up with customer demand. But this year it's quite the opposite.
There are several reasons why the apples weren't as good last year. A late frost killed many of the buds that had started to bloom and then any of the apple buds that did survive were unable to thrive because of the drought. So many farmers were left with very few, smaller than usual apples.
This year the rain we got helped push the apples along and Jim at Smalls Fruit Farm is calling this year, "The year of the apple"
They say an apple never falls far from the tree and if you take that as a literal statement. Well, it's most certainly true at Smalls Apple Farm.
Apples are everywhere - so many in fact, the apples are weighing down the branches and falling off on their own.
Jim Small says he's excited this year is better than last but making up for lost profits is a lost cause.
"You hope you do but it never seems to work that way because one thing about a frost is everybody has an apple tree in their yard. They didn't have an apple on their trees last year either, where this year they're just completely loaded just like I am," said Jim Small, owner of Smalls Fruit Farm.
Which means the price of apples must go down - simple economics of supply and demand.
"Last year on any given tree out here there was only about a half a dozen apples and they were at the very top of these trees. Pretty hard to pick. But this year it's a totally different story. Each one of the trees will yield about 3 bushels and each bushel is between 125 to 150 apples.
Last spring, the weather was warm enough; the apple buds began to bloom and than the frost hit which killed off most of the buds. That's the critical difference between 2012 and 2013.
The late winter this year didn't do any damage because the buds hadn't begun to bloom yet.
"The further the bud is less developed the more cold air it takes to kill that bud. Lets say they're just starting to leaf out they can take temps. Of 18-19-20 degrees and it won't affect them a bit," said Small.
The result - hundreds and hundreds of apples.
"Well we've got a lot of em, so maybe it is the year of the apple," said Small.
Smalls Fruit Farm will be holding a Fall Fest. For more details head to its website: http://www.smallsfruitfarm.com/fallfest.html