Video: South Jersey Apple Farm Offering Free Apples Due to "Winter Injury"

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MULLICA HILL, N.J. – Usually by September, the apple trees at Hill Creek Farms, and others like it, are full of apples, however, due to the weather last year they are quite bare.
According to owner Fred Sorbello, last December the temperatures warmed up to around 70 degrees and that stayed true not only in December but in January, February, and March. This unseasonal weather caused the apples to start blooming early.However, the freeze after an April snowfall damaged the early crop growth.
“Had we not had that deep freeze we probably would’ve had a full crop of apples but because they were in full bloom and we had the deep freeze we experienced a winter kill," said Sorbello.
A lot of the apples were killed but the farmers didn’t realize the ones that survived experience what’s called "winter injury."
“We could tell something wasn’t quite right about the crop and at that point, we knew that we were pretty much in trouble with this year’s crop," said Sorbello.
The 17,000 apple trees on Hill Creek Farms normally would produce about 60 pounds of apples each, but for this year they’ll be lucky to get five pounds each. So rather than charging to pick the injured fruit they’re allowing the public to do it free of charge.
“Come on in, enjoy the day on the farm, pick the apples. They’re still fantastic for pies, they’re still good for eating and they’re certainly great for applesauce," said Sorbello.
The farm will have its market open with a variety of produce, fresh baked goods, and of course their homemade apple cider.
“We didn’t want to take the experience away from the public of having an opportunity to come to the farm," said Sorbello. “More importantly it’s about having a good time on the farm. We have the hay rides, we have the playgrounds, we have the moon bounces. You know we have activities for the family and the kids."
All these activities will run right through the holiday season. For details on their events, you can find Hill Creek Farms on Facebook.