The cherished autumn tradition of apple picking is off to an early start in the Northeast as growers deal with aftershocks from bizarre spring weather that took a toll on fruit crops.
Three state assemblymen are calling for a special session of the legislature to pass a tax relief bill for New York's apple farmers.
U.S. Department of Agriculture figures released last week show apple production down 52 percent from last year, all across New York state. Growers blame the crop loss on an unusually warm spring followed by late-season freezes and this summer's drought.
Peter Ten Eyck with Indian Ladder Farms in Albany County will be among farm operators buying apples from other sources so their fall customers won't go without.
"This is one year that we're going to have a hard time delivering the goods," Ten Eyck says.
Republican Assemblymen Jim Tedisco, Pete Lopez and Steve McLaughlin are calling for a special session. They want to pass the Family Farmers and Apple Growers Relief Act to give the farmers a 35 percent income tax credit, only on the loss in production compared to the previous year.