The Times-Independent

Fruit Harvest 2021 heads to Capitol Reef

In a few months, it will be fruit harvest season.

An orchard at Capitol Reef. Photo courtesy of NPS

Predictions for the 2021 season show that the apricot bloom has begun and will last for approximately two weeks. Other blooms will occur throughout April. As fruit ripens throughout the summer, many varieties will be available for harvest at Capitol Reef National Park, including cherries (by limited quantity in early June), apricots in June, apples and pears in July and August, and peaches in August.

“Fluctuating temperatures and low precipitation indicate a moderate fruit harvest this year, with the bloom beginning in late March. Hotter than average mid-summer temperatures are predicted for this year, which may result in an earlier harvest for 2021” says horticulturist Fritz Maslan.

Current 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 can be reached by calling 435-425-3791. Once the park number connects, press one for general information and, at the next prompt for the orchard hotline, press five. Fruit harvest information is also updated on the park’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Capitol Reef National Park uses the funds collected from fruit sales to partially defray the cost of maintaining the orchards, among the largest in the National Park System. These orchards are maintained using historic fruit production methods that provide insights into the challenges faced by the pioneer settlers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who established the orchards in the late 1880s.

The National Park Service provides special fruit picking ladders and tools. Climbing fruit trees is not permitted in the park. Carefully read and follow posted instructions while picking fruit. Watch your footing when walking through the orchards and use caution on ladders. Bring your own bags for collecting fruit.