Not even few apples slows Apple Festival

An Empire apple I bought at the 30th Annuval Unicoi Apple Festival.
Amy and I went to the 30th Annual Unicoi County Apple Festival in Erwin, Tenn., on Friday. It continues today. It was our second year going. It's a great small-town fall festival.

One wrinkle this year: there are few apples.

The most dire assessment was in the Tennessean in late September, which said there would only be 2,000 bushels harvested in the state (a normal year is about a million bushels).

“One picker can pick the whole Tennessee crop in 10 days,” was one the quotes.

Some other estimates aren't quite as devastating, maybe only 10 percent of last year's crop, or about 100,000 pounds.

Either way, it's the lowest amount on record to due to the frost back at Easter. The numbers are way down also in South Carolina, Kentucky, North Carolina and Georgia. Virginia and West Virginia not so much.

But there's lots of crafts, food and music along Erwin's downtown. And there are some apples. I like to try vrieties I haven't had -- or don't recall having. Last year, I tried Cameo apples. This year, I bought a bag of Empire apples, one of them is pictured at right in an HDR photo.

It's tart and crisp and nice-sized.