BOSTON (CBS) – The drought is causing big problems all over Massachusetts and it could affect some favorite fall activities.

WBZ-TV’s Eric Fisher visited Smolak Farms in North Andover to see how the drought is impacting apples, pumpkins and foliage.

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Apple Picking

Things are looking good for apples at Smolak Farms, but with an unusual twist. Michael Smolak says some of the apples are about half the normal size this year.

That’s caused by a weather double whammy: A frost in April hurt early apple buds, then a dry summer piled on.

“The drought compounds the problem for a lot of us,” Smolak said. “Some orchards, and we are not one, are very, very light on apples.”

Despite the drought you can find apples at plenty of places.

“Before you go out to a farm, either go on their website or call them up directly and find out exactly what is happening out in each particular farm, because it is as varied as that,” Smolak said.

And go early, because the drought may mean a shorter season.

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Choosing the perfect pumpkin is a fall ritual, but since pumpkins are mostly water, and we haven’t had much of that falling on farms this summer, should we worry?

“We opened our pumpkin season last week and we’re well supplied at this point,” Smolak said.

Smolak gets most of his pumpkins from farms in Western Mass.

“It’s been a difficult season because of the drought but those farms with irrigation have been able to irrigate and their crops are absolutely fine,” Smolak said.

But the drought means pumpkins didn’t grow as well as usual.

“The size generally is smaller this year because of a lack of rain,” Smolak said.


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  • The drought will increase leaf drop
  • Vivid colors are possible, but they won’t last as long
  • Color may come early if weather gets cool

Eric Fisher says in eastern and southern New England, the season will be shorter. But in northern New England, there will be a more “typical” foliage season.