Fruit Harvest At Capitol Reef National Park Could Be Late This Year

The apple harvest at Capitol Reef National Park later this year could be disappointing. Pat Cone photo.

While some fruits are ready for harvest at Capitol Reef National Park in Utah, other crops could arrive later than normal due to colder weather earlier this year.

As of Wednesday, apricots at $1 per pound were ready for picking in the Gifford Orchard, though the crop wasn't huge, according to the park's fruit hotline.

Cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, apples, and pears are typically available for harvest each summer at Capitol Reef.

The prediction for the 2013 fruit season shows that both flowering and harvesting are behind schedule and lower crop yields are to be expected due to colder 2012 winter temperatures and a late-season frost.

Up-to-date fruit harvest information and pricing is recorded on the Capitol Reef Fruit Hotline as fruit ripens and specific harvest start dates are determined. The fruit hotline may be reached by calling (435) 425-3791. Once the park number connects, press one for general information and, at the voice prompt for the orchard hotline, press five.

Fruit harvest information is also posted on the park Facebook page. Information on the Fruita Orchards is available on the park website at www.nps.gov/care under "plan your visit."

Climbing fruit trees is not permitted in the park. The National Park Service provides special fruit picking ladders. Use care when picking fruit and carefully read and follow posted instructions on fruit picking and ladder use.

Capitol Reef National Park uses the receipts from fruit sales to defray the cost of maintaining the orchards. The historic Fruita orchards are among the largest in the National Park System and were established beginning in the 1880s by pioneer residents of Fruita.