Local apples looking good

By Gordon Lambie

Despite a late frost and a hot, dry start to the summer, local orchard owners are saying that apple season has arrived and is going well.
Lynn Heath of Heath Orchard in Stanstead told The Record that there were worries because of the extremes in the weather early on.
“I know there are some smaller orchards that don’t really have any apples, but we do and they are lovely,” Heath said, stating that although the crop is a little bit lighter this year than usual, it is nonetheless doing well.
Although the coming of Covid-19 has required some changes in the way that the orchard does business, Heath said that the changes have a pretty minimal impact overall on the customer experience
“Our orchard is quite large, so it is easy to socially distance,” she said, explaining that hand sanitizer has been made available and buckets are being cleaned more regularly. Although masks are required inside of the kiosk, they are not necessary among the trees, where visitors are well spaced out.
“Picking your own fruit is probably one of the safest activities you can do these days,” Heath speculated. “Even our kiosk only really has three walls,” she added with a laugh.
Mélanie Éliane Marcoux, co-owner of Le Gros Pierre near Compton said that the season has started very well.
“We are very happy,” she said, sharing that the orchard’s irrigation system meant that their apples were not negatively impacted by the summer heatwaves. “The trees had all the water they needed.”
Usually a hotspot for local agrotourism in the fall, Marcoux said that Le Gros Pierre will be able to go ahead with all of its usual activities with only minor adjustments. Masks are required in the boutique and on the weekend tractor rides, and a hand-washing station has been installed.
Based on the last two weeks, Marcoux said that people are still showing up to buy apples and pies, but doing so in a more spread-out way than in years past to avoid crowding.
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