By Calvin Dudley LAFAYETTE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Fall is finally here. The season brings many changes, but to many New Yorkers, none more welcomed than the apple.
“Upstate New York is one of the best places to grow apples,” said Keith O’Neil, the owner of O’Neill’s Orchards, Lafayette. “Everybody that lives here and moves South, when they come back, they come here. They come to the New York State apples which they can’t get in other places.”
A Cornell University study from April found that the apple industry creates more than 12,000 jobs and brings in more than $2 billion dollars to the state’s economy.
O’Neill, who has owned the orchard for more than 30 years, said many of the apples grown in the region cannot be found anywhere else. He said he prepares from November to August just for apple season.
“I wouldn’t have a business if I didn’t have the apples,” O’Neill said. “No apple, no business.”
He said the past winter was tough on the orchards and affected the yield.
“This year’s crop is pretty good,” he added. “It was a little bit on the light side because of the damage to the buds last November.”