Poor Harvests Imperil Annual Apple Harvest Festival
Local News - Newsmakers
Written by Helen Hamilton   
Friday, 20 September 2013 08:14

MILLBANK – The Millbank Festival committee is soliciting ideas for alternative festivals, after area farmers reported record low apple crop yields. An unseasonably cold spring and hot, dry summer, paired with infestations of coddling moth, fire blight and apple maggots, meant that many growers experienced at least a 90% loss in their orchards.

“I thought we would maybe be able to squeak by and get a few apples,” opined Burt Vorchek, 78, “but when the extension agent found that heavy metals had leached into our soil, I kinda gave up.”

“And you don’t even want to know what the readings on the Geiger counter were,” added his wife, Glinda Vorchek, 75.

Massive numbers of apple-eating raccoons and feral dogs have also been spotted in Millbank’s farm belt. It is thought that these foraging animals have been flushed out of nearby communities, such as Chesterburgh Point (which recently changed its motto to “Keep the Vermin Out!”).

“Oh, the pests and pollution aren’t even the half of it,” proposed local extension agent Hal Deerfoot, 56. “Something about those trees, I swear that they attract lightning. At least seven of the orchard fires were caused by lightning strikes in the last three months.”

Mr. Deerfoot emphasizes that Millbank agriculture is still something to celebrate. Stephanie Alvarado, chair of the Millbank Festival Committee, agrees wholeheartedly. “It’s going to take more than plague, pestilence and fire to stop a Millbank festival! The annual Apple Harvest Festival will continue, even if there is not a single apple in Millbank.”

The Millbank Festival Committee has tossed around alternatives to the usual Apple Harvest activities, such as “Applesauce Purchasing at OK Supermart” and “Mock Apple Pie Eating Contest”. Mr. Deerfoot thinks that another crop may have to supplant apples for this year. “Lord knows, I’m up to my butt crack in beets. Maybe we should try to give some of those away.”

Please submit any ideas or suggestions about this year’s Apple Harvest Festival to Stephanie Alvarado by Friday, September 20. “Cancel the whole thing,” is not a valid suggestion.

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Last Updated on Friday, 20 September 2013 08:18

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