Poor apple harvests this year

After last year's rich apple harvest, this year the trees have to rest a bit, and the fruit will be smaller too. The harvest was lessened by the dry summer as well, but even this year it can break records in places, LTV reported on Tuesday.

Apple sales are quite low at the moment - many Latvians have their own apple orchards and garden houses where these fruit are found by the dozen. The real season for apple sellers starts in mid-January when most people's stored apples are depleted. 

This year the harvest has been rather small, according to gardeners.

"This year the harvest is not that good. Last year it was record-breaking, and now the trees are taking a break," said the owner of the Eglāji orchard Guntis Ofkants.

Kaspars Ofkants agreed and added: "The summer was very dry, it rained little, that's why the apples can be smaller this year. They'll also be less beautiful at market stands." However, at least this will help distinguishing local apples from their Polish-grown equivalents.

The gardeners also said that local apples and pears don't taste worse despite the less than welcoming weather.

"The taste of apples and pears has remained the same. Even though there was drought, our trees dealt with it quite well. We also followed the trees, and cut the grass below the trees in order to not waste too much water," said Jēkabs Spickus from LLC Dzimtene.

Though some varieties of apple will bring record harvests this autumn, and Latvian apples are delivered to supermarkets as well. For this task, farmers join up in groups as that way the necessary volume of deliveries can be ensured.

While it's hard to compete with the cheaper Polish products. "Polish apples don't spoil for a month, and there are no problems, while ours start spoiling after three or four days. This means that our apples aren't sprayed with chemicals every week, and thus are more useful in every way," Spickus said. Though it cannot be said that Latvian apples aren't sprayed with chemicals at all.

The part of the harvest that couldn't be sold is processed into juice, while others make apple wine.

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