STOW, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — With the ongoing drought spurring outdoor watering bans across the state apples in Stow are starting to feel the burn... literally.
Honey Pot Hill Orchards in Stow has a plethora of healthy fruit despite the drought, but their biggest problem is sunburnt apples.
"[It] has nothing to do with the drought, it's just because of the heat so we actually do put a sunscreen on the apples to keep them from getting burned," General Manager Chelsea Martin told WBZ's Kim Tunnicliffe.
Workers have been coating the apples with a copper-based spray protectant, similar to sunscreen, to protect them from the glaring sun.
According to the Washington State University Comprehensive Tree Fruit Site, apple sunscreen is highly effective in preventing sunburn and is not washed off by rain or irrigation.
While the drought has caused major problems for farmers, Honey Pot Hill attributes their healthy apples to their advanced irrigation system.
"We do have multiple irrigation ponds on the property, we're pretty lucky that way. My grandfather got a grant in the 50's to dig, [but] you can't do that anymore," Martin said.
Other orchards haven't been so lucky, as the drought has kept some apples from reaching their full size potential. Some farmers in the community say they're worried the season will be cut short as well from the lack of rain.
Another problem apple farmers have been seeing are the new diseases in apples that come with the dry climate.
"There's funguses that we just don't have here that actually thrive in drier conditions," Martin said.
Though the heat has afflicted the farm's apples, Honey Pot Hill says their peaches are thriving in the conditions. The consistent sun is enabling peaches to end up with a sweeter flavor.
WBZ's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports.