Photos: Apple harvesting begins in Kashmir’s orchards

In Kashmir, the apple is king. Starting mid-September, apple growers start harvesting different varieties of the fruit. Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed declared 2017 as the ‘Year of the Apple.’ Thousands of people are employed in the whole process of the fruit’s production and varieties like Maharaj, Ambri, American, Delicious and Hazratbal make their way to different states in India.

UPDATED ON OCT 06, 2017 11:42 AM IST 8 Photos
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A Kashmiri farmer carries fresh apples from a tree in an orchard in Budgam, about 20 kilometers from Srinagar. Apples from Kashmir are famous in South Asia and their harvest is one of the backbones of Kashmir’s economy, employing thousands of people direct and indirectly. (Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)

A Kashmiri farmer carries fresh apples from a tree in an orchard in Budgam, about 20 kilometers from Srinagar. Apples from Kashmir are famous in South Asia and their harvest is one of the backbones of Kashmir’s economy, employing thousands of people direct and indirectly. (Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON OCT 06, 2017 11:42 AM IST
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Known for producing indigenous varieties, Kashmir leads apple production in India. The story started in the 1950s soon after the land reforms and in 1952, apple cultivation covered 12,000 hectares in the north of Kashmir. (Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)

Known for producing indigenous varieties, Kashmir leads apple production in India. The story started in the 1950s soon after the land reforms and in 1952, apple cultivation covered 12,000 hectares in the north of Kashmir. (Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON OCT 06, 2017 11:42 AM IST
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The process of plucking an apple covered in dew off a tree is joyous. The apple (Malus pumila) is commercially the most important temperate fruit and ranks fourth among the most widely produced fruits in the world after banana, orange and grape. (Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)

The process of plucking an apple covered in dew off a tree is joyous. The apple (Malus pumila) is commercially the most important temperate fruit and ranks fourth among the most widely produced fruits in the world after banana, orange and grape. (Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON OCT 06, 2017 11:42 AM IST
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In the orchards of Budgam, a butterfly is seen sucking nectar from a plant. Butterflies and bees are key to apple crop farming and the pollination process. But there’s been a steady decline and some farmers are even hiring insects to ensure pollination. (Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)

In the orchards of Budgam, a butterfly is seen sucking nectar from a plant. Butterflies and bees are key to apple crop farming and the pollination process. But there’s been a steady decline and some farmers are even hiring insects to ensure pollination. (Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON OCT 06, 2017 11:42 AM IST
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Despite rains and snowfall in April this year, the apple orchards of Budgam have managed to salvage the fruit crop so as to see a good harvest. (Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)

Despite rains and snowfall in April this year, the apple orchards of Budgam have managed to salvage the fruit crop so as to see a good harvest. (Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON OCT 06, 2017 11:42 AM IST
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Once the fruits are nearly ripe, they lend the trees in the orchards a lovely, blush-pink colour. Seen here is a farmer carrying a crate of freshly plucked apples in an orchard in Budgam for sorting. (Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)

Once the fruits are nearly ripe, they lend the trees in the orchards a lovely, blush-pink colour. Seen here is a farmer carrying a crate of freshly plucked apples in an orchard in Budgam for sorting. (Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON OCT 06, 2017 11:42 AM IST
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Crucial to the process of the harvest is cupping one’s hand under the apple and removing the small stalk at the top, after the dew leaves the fruit. Farmers do this for every single apple, no matter how large the numbers. (Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)

Crucial to the process of the harvest is cupping one’s hand under the apple and removing the small stalk at the top, after the dew leaves the fruit. Farmers do this for every single apple, no matter how large the numbers. (Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON OCT 06, 2017 11:42 AM IST
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A batch from the harvest is laid out in the orchard for final packaging and shipping to local and inter-state markets. Kashmir alone accounts for about 70% of India’s produce of apples. (Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)

A batch from the harvest is laid out in the orchard for final packaging and shipping to local and inter-state markets. Kashmir alone accounts for about 70% of India’s produce of apples. (Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON OCT 06, 2017 11:42 AM IST
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