Orchards say rain, heat spoiled popular Honeycrisp crop

Honeycrisp Apples are seen for sale at the Eastern Market February 25, 2014, in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio’s supply of the popular Honeycrisp apple is in danger, thanks to this summer’s combination of heavy rain and excessive heat, which is also leading to school closures.

Half the Honeycrisp apples at Lynd Fruit Farm in Pataskala in central Ohio have fallen victim to disease, leading to the cancellation of an annual pick-your-own event this coming weekend, co-owner Andy Lynd told the Columbus Dispatch.

“We built a reputation on providing quality apples for our customers, and the last thing we want to do is provide a low-quality apple to a customer,” said Lynd, who said it’s the first time in 42 years he canceled a pick-your-own weekend because of quality concerns.

Honeycrisp apples will still be on sale at the farm, but those are handpicked by employees and inspected for signs of the disease, known as bitter rot, Lynd said. The Hugus Fruit Farm in Rushville in Fairfield County also lost at least half of its normal Honeycrisp crop because of heat and humidity experienced over the summer, owner Ralph Hugus told the paper.

In southeastern Ohio, Robert Bowers the weather has affected all the apple crops at his Laurelville Fruit Farm, including Honeycrisps.

Honeycrisps are difficult apples to grow because of their susceptibility to disease, said Bill Dodd, president of the Ohio Fruit Growers Marketing Association.