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Apple crop is down in Conn.

flickr member Shinya Suzuki

Visitors to Connecticut’s fruit farms looking to pick apples this fall will see a smaller crop and fewer varieties. Growers blame last year’s severe winter weather for the shortfall. 

Apple pickers looking for the best bushel or peck of Honeycrisp, Macoun, and other apples will have to be less choosy this year.

That's because some growers in the state are experiencing significantly smaller crops.

Mike Bozzi is a manager at Ellsworth Hill Orchard and Berry Farm in Sharon. He says his apple crop is down at least 40 percent. 

"There's not as many varieties available. Some were wiped out entirely, like Cortlands, Empires are scarce. Red Delicious are scarce," Bozzi said. 

He says his other fruit crops like peaches and plums are also down.

Russell Powell is with the non-profit New England Apple Association. He says the decline is being felt across the region.

"It's an unusual year in that we avoided the usual problems that can impact the crop such as frost damage and hail," Powell said. "But there was some tree damage from the unusually harsh winter." 

Powell says the shortfall doesn’t seem to be affecting prices. He also says not all farms were affected equally.

Growers like Ellsworth Hill Orchard say they'll promote other activities like a corn maze and cider-making to offset losses.

Conn. officials say apple production is an 8 to 12 million dollar industry each year.