TOWN OF EMMET - Normally when you go to an apple farm, you may have to climb to great heights to get the apples, but this year, a toddler could pick them. "I didn't expect that would come down,” Tom Kohn tells TODAY’S TMJ4’s Jesse Ritka as he points to a large apple tree branch. But apples and branches are coming down at the Kohn Farm.
A bumper apple crop is weighing trees down so much that apples are even touching the ground and some limbs are snapping under the pressure. “I don't know if Mother Nature helped us out that way. I suppose too many is better than nothing,” Kohn sighs. And “nothing” is what was on his trees last year after a warm March and late spring freeze.
“This year, they tried to make up for it, in spite of the fact that I tried to thin it out,” Kohn explains how he noticed the extraordinary amount of fruit flourishing in June. He knew then that he had to compost the surplus, “I waited many years for those tree to grow and now I have to pick em and destroy the apples, but it was the hope that I would have a better crop of apples, the apples would be better flavored and would have a bigger size.”
Despite his early season trimming, Kohn ended up with a crop more than one and a half times the one he gets in a typical year. An excess of apples he hopes to sell before the cold air really hits, “I hope that it doesn't get below 20 degrees."
But that’s not Kohn’s core concern he admits - looking at his sagging tree branches, "It's not a good feeling... because the branches are breaking and it's overloaded and it probably won't produce well next year."
Tom put up nearly 100 support posts to stop the branches from breaking, he knows his effort hasn’t saved them all, but he’s hoping to avoid a fruit famine after this year’s feast. "We'll wait and see what happens," Kohn says.
Until then, the Kohns will be selling their crops at the Watertown FarmersMarket at Riverside Park on Tuesdays and at the Farmers Market at the Watertown Public Library on Thursdays. They plan to donate even more apples than they do on a normal year to the food pantry.