It’s grape harvest season in North East and local farmers said the crops are benefitting from the dry weather this summer.
Several local farmers said this summer’s weather has been great for the grapes. The crop produces local products, including juice, wine and jelly.
Fruit farms across the region are harvesting grapes this time of year. At Shultz Farm, they grow various grapes, which they ship to companies of all sizes, including Welch’s.
“We have about 30 acres of hybrid wine grapes, plus half of our concords go for kosher wine. So a lot of the local wineries, we grow 12 to 14 varieties of wine grapes, so pretty much were kind of behind the scenes,” said Roger Shultz, Shultz Farm.
Shultz said his great grandfather started with the first farm in the late 1800s and said it’s been passed down for generations.
He added that this year’s crop benefited from the summer’s dry, hot weather. He said the grapes are ready to be shipped out and used in various products.
“Eat lots of Welch’s peanut butter and jelly, drink the juice for breakfast, visit your local winery, look for the local varieties, the hybrids and the natives. Visit your local stores,” Shultz added.
Nick Mobilia, the owner of another fruit farm, said frost in the spring hurt last year’s grape harvest. He added that this year is a different story.
“They’ll be proud this year. If you haven’t picked your grapes this season, I can tell you they’re going to be beautiful,” said Nick Mobilia, owner of Mobilia Farms.
Mobilia Farms not only harvests grapes, but also makes wine. Mobilia said the grape pressing process takes some time, and even once the fermentation process is complete, many of the wines should be aged.
“Everything will get fermented here before Thanksgiving hopefully, definitely before Christmas. Then after you get it fermented, then you just put it in the holding tanks and you let it start to age. You just monitor it for months and just let it go,” Mobilia added.
Wine Fest in North East is coming up later this month, starting Friday, Sept. 23.