Apple picking goes on amid COVID restrictions


SCITUATE, R.I. (WPRI) — Apple picking at area orchards is going strong, despite setbacks this year for growers.

Joe Iaciogano says it hasn’t been easy. “We can’t do the hot dog stand that we had out here, we can’t do the hayrides, the school trips have all been canceled.”

He had to put COVID restrictions in place earlier this year, and then his crop was hampered by the severe drought that’s been impacting the state’s growers.

“A number of trees didn’t produce like they did in the past. You know you have plenty of trees out here, but you expect them all to be filled and this year they’re not,” Iaciofano said.

And the ones that are filled, are producing smaller apples and fewer leaves — subjecting the crop to sun damage. If that wasn’t bad enough, Tropical Storm Isaias’ strong winds stripped the tree in the orchards.

But after all those blows being dealt in a year, the weather finally cooperated.

“The weather for the first time in numerous years has really felt like fall but with some of the restrictions it’s put a lot of strain on the business,” he said.

But people are picking and families 12 News spoke with Sunday said even a pandemic couldn’t spoil their annual tradition.

“We’re trying to keep some happiness and some normalcy in our lives in any way we can,” Kathy Taylor said.

“We just have to do the best with what we have and hopefully we can come out the other side positive,” Iaciofano said.

Despite all the setbacks, the apple farmers are excited to welcome guests back to their orchards, but you may want to give them a call first to make sure you’re prepared for any changes that may be in place.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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