Apple Crop Decent Despite Temperature Extremes

NEBRASKA CITY – After a year of both record lows and record high temperatures, Nebraska City apple orchards are expecting a harvest a little shy of last year’s bumper crop.

A record low temperature of minus 20 degrees was recorded in January and a record low of  14 degrees put a chill on the growing season on April 7.

Record high temperatures were just weeks away, however. A new high of 100 and 101 degrees were recording May 26 and 27.

June had 13 days above 90 degrees and a record-high set of 96 degrees on June 1. Overall, the month’s average high was five degrees above normal.

Adam Howard, director of operations at Arbor Day Farm, and Vaughn Hammond at Kimmel Orchard said they are bringing in a decent harvest despite the temperature extremes.

Howard: “We want everyone to know we are more than just an orchard, but an apple orchard is the primary reason, hence AppleJack.

“Our apples right now are looking pretty good. The weather this year has kind of set us back on size, but that’s just generalities.”

Hammond said the extreme cold can impact the buds that overwinter on trees and the heat makes the blossoms less available for pollination.

Howard said Arbor Day Farm visitors can chose U-pick, the apple market and get a sense of the foundation’s mission of inspiring people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees.

Howard: “It’s a retreat of nature, it’s a retreat of experience. It’s a retreat of just heightened awareness of the world around you and we center everything around trees, so the orchard is one of the tools we use.”

New to Arbor Day Farm this year is a zip cruise and a 32-foot embankment slide.

Here are highlights of the weather almanac

  • January
  • Minus 20 record cold on Jan. 1.
  • April
  • Record low set April 7 at 14 degrees.
  • Average low was 31 degrees, nine degrees below normal average.
  • Highs were eight degrees below normal average.
  • May
  • 4 days above 90 degrees.
  • Two record highs of 100 and 101 degrees May 26-27.
  • Record  high of 97 on May 28.
  • June
  • Set record high of 96 degrees on June 1.
  • 13 days above 90 degrees
  • Average of 88 degrees is five degrees above normal average.
  • July
  • 8 days above 90

2018 AppleJack Festival Schedule