Elsie Dinsmore, 5, of Windsor Township wrestles an apple off a tree Tuesday at Brown’s Orchards & Farm Market. She visited the orchard with
Elsie Dinsmore, 5, of Windsor Township wrestles an apple off a tree Tuesday at Brown's Orchards & Farm Market. She visited the orchard with grandfather and other relatives to pick Gala and Ginger Gold apples. (Bill Kalina bkalina@yorkdispatch.com)

The Ginger Golds and Galas are ready.

Brown's Orchards & Farm Market opened its pick-your-own apple season this week, and growers say it's going to be a good one.

"As of now, it's shaping up to be a beautiful season. We have a full crop," said Stan Brown, owner of the farm at 8892 Susquehanna Trail South in Loganville.

About 25 varieties are grown at Brown's, and more will be picked and harvested each week.

For example, Honeycrisp apples will be available this weekend and always prove popular among shoppers.

"They're good for eating and cooking," Brown said.

Growers started picking apples in July and will continue to pick into late October.

"It's quite a season," he said.

Weather: Brown and other growers say they've had good growing weather so far and hope it continues.

Ideal weather for growing apples includes a good winter with enough precipitation to soak the ground, good pollination, average rainfall and moderate temperatures, Brown said.

Farmer Dan Paulus is hoping mild weather will continue.

"Hailstorms are the worst things ever for orchards. One 10-minute hailstorm can mark up the apples so bad nobody wants to buy them," said the owner of Paulus Orchards at 522 E. Mount Airy Road in Dillsburg.

Excessively wet conditions can also lead to fungus and disease, he said.

But if it's too dry, the apples won't grow as big, Paulus said.


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That hasn't been a problem this year, according to local growers.

"We have a very, very nice crop with a lot of apples that are a nice size," he said.

Paulus Orchards will begin its pick-your-own season this weekend, and more than 20 varieties will be available until Halloween.

Customers will first be able to pick Gala apples — a variety that is best for making applesauce, according to pickyourown.org.

Gala apples are also available at Forge Hill Orchards at 135 Blossom Drive in Mount Wolf.

In addition to Gala apples, the farm is presently selling five other varieties in store: PaulaRed, Summer Rambo, Ginger Gold, Honeycrisp and Zestar.

Forge Hill Orchards grows about 25 varieties and will begin its pick-your-own season in mid-September, said Donna Wiley, who works in the salesroom at the farm.

"The apples are looking really good," she said.

Elsewhere: The U.S. Apple Association is predicting 245 million bushels will be picked this year. That's slightly less than the record 246 million bushels that were picked last year.

While the Pennsylvania crop is strong, some orchards in New York and New England states have reported a late season because of a harsh winter and cold, wet spring.

But overall, the country's apple production will be strong in what has become a $2.5 billion business each year, according to the association.

Apples are grown commercially in 32 states, and Pennsylvania ranks fourth on the list behind Washington, Michigan and New York, the association reported.

—Reach Candy Woodall at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.