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Autumn brings time to harvest apples in Kentucky

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September and October is a busy time for Kentucky’s apple growers—both for the commercial and home operation. In fact, I have received a couple of calls already about the best time to harvest apples this season.

The best and most time-tested method of judging when to pick fruit is the taste method. When enough starch has been converted to sugar and the flavor is developed, the fruit is ready to eat.

Fruit changes color as it ripens.  The base color, or ground color, is the color underneath the red striping or blush of peaches, apples, pears and cherries.  In most fruits, the fruit is ripening when the ground color turns green to yellow.  Be aware that the surface color may develop before the fruit is actually mature.

Ripening times vary from year to year depending on the weather.  If apples have coddling moth damage, they tend to drop up to two weeks before the crop is ripe.

If storing fruit, cool it as soon as possible after picking.  The sooner heat is removed from freshly picked fruit, the longer it will keep.  Fruit continues to ripen in cold storage, so pick fruit before it is ripe if you want to store it.

Handle fruit gently for storage.  Bruises and wounds allow pathogens to infect the fruit, and disease will spread to adjacent fruits once it gets established.

Some popular varieties of apples you may find at the farmers markets or on many Kentucky farms that provide fall agritourism activities are:  Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Gala, Ginger Gold, Granny Smith, Cortland, Jonagold, Suncrisp, Rome, Fuji, Braeburn, Cameo, and Enterprise.

Field day

The Carroll County Conservation District will be having a field day at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 19 at Christman Farms on Hwy 55 in Prestonville, one-fourth mile south of the intersection of U.S. 42 and Hwy. 55.

This field day will spotlight grain bin storage and drying, as well as conservation practices related to that topic. Paul Veech, District Conservationist, will speak on filter strips and soil quality. Dinner will be served, so RSVP is required. Please contact the Carroll County Conservation District at (502) 732-6098 for more information and to reserve your spot.

CAIP receipt deadline

All receipts for the Carroll County Agricultural Investment Program, or Phase I, are due into the Extension Office by Oct. 1.

Receipt dates are from May 7, 2012 to Oct. 1.

For any questions, please contact the Carroll County Cooperative Extension Service at (502) 732-7030.

Dates of interest

Sept. 23: Carroll County Cattlemen Association Fall Kick-Off Picnic, 6:30 p.m., Extension office.

Sept. 24:Carroll County Extension District Board Meeting, 6 p.m., Extension office.

Christin Herbst is the Carroll County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources. Call her at (502) 732-7030 or send e-mail to Christin.Herbst@uky.edu.