Seventeen inches of rain, including over two inches in one day, lifted Henderson County from long-endured drought conditions; but it posed concerns to apple growers. When wet, apples are likely to host fungus that can discolor them, decreasing consumer appeal, and thus decreasing their value. Rain tends to wash off fungicides, which can’t be reapplied until the apples dry out. Since a lot of Henderson’s orchards grow on sloped terrain, it would be longer before spraying tractors could treat those apples. Jason Blackwell, president of the Blue Ridge Apple Growers Association, estimated prolonged rain could affect up to 50 orchards. With about 200 orchards, Henderson County produces 65 percent of North Carolina apples, the state ranking seventh in the nation for production. Of the 5,000 to 20,000 varieties believed to have grown in the state since ancient times, sixteen are grown for marketing in Henderson. Harvest times range from August to October. By the beginning of June, no serious harm had been done to this year’s crop. The March freeze came too early to damage most varieties. The next worry for growers will be hail, which wrought extensive crop damage in 2008. Last year, Henderson County’s apple crop, judged good but not full, was valued at $40 million.