Almost two weeks early, apples are ready throughout York County.
"They are rolling in here now," said Stan Brown of Brown's Orchards in Loganville.
The popular Honeycrisp variety is ready to go now, and Gala apples will be ready soon too, said Brown.
Pick-your-own apples kicked off on Sunday at Brown's, and will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Sunday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday until apple season ends in October.
"Agri-tainment" continues to grow in demand as families especially want to see how a farm operates, said Brown.
Many of the children who visit don't know where an apple comes from or that it comes from a tree, he said.
"The apples are looking good, and all of the people in York County have full crops I think," Brown said.
He has received lots of requests for apples from farmers in northern and western Pennsylvania this year, where the apple crop suffered from the frost that came after unusually warm temperatures came so early in the spring.
"It is unfortunate that people get frozen out," Brown said. "We've been there also but we'll be glad this year to help them."
"We have lucked out this year because we have not had any - and I don't even want to use the word - hail storms," Brown said.
Like every local farmer, Brown is hoping that good weather holds.
Nancy Blevins of Blevins Fruit Farm in Stewartstown said this year has been the most unusual year for crops that she can ever recall.
"But every thing has been bountiful and tasty, so we're just plugging away," Blevins said.
"We were fortunate," she said. "Some growers were hit by frost at a bad time, but we just sat in the right spot. We have a little higher elevation, and sometimes that pays off."
"We weren't hit by frost, although you had your fingers crossed all through that spring because they bloomed so early," Blevins said.
Ginger Gold, Zestar, Summer Rambo, and Golden Supreme varieties were ready to be picked last week, which she said is about two weeks earlier than normal, even for those early varieties of apples.
Customers gravitate toward whichever variety is in season, so really there is a new favorite variety of apples with each passing week, Blevins said.
As Honeycrisp and Gala come into season this week, those will be the most popular, but when Red Delicious and Golden Delicious apples are ripe in late September, that is what customers will opt for then, she said.
Mary Sue Shaw of Shaw Orchards in Stewartstown said, "People just roll with the season. One apple will only be superior for a little while. Honeycrisp is very popular right now."
"We have a full crop, and it is going to take awhile to get them all marketed," Shaw said.
Shaw Orchards offers pick-your-own apples from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays until about the middle of October, along with antique tractor rides.
Apple crops in states like Michigan and New York have suffered greatly this year because of to frost in the spring, she said.
"We are getting a lot of calls and offers to sell apples from people we have never heard of before," said Shaw. "But we'd like to stick to the people who have supported us in the past."
Where to find fresh apples locally:
-- Bentzel's Orchard, 21 N Lewisberry Road Dillsburg, 766-5160
-- Blevins Fruit Farm, 16222 W Liberty Road Stewartstown, 993-2885
-- Brown's Orchards, 8892 Susquehanna Trail South Loganville, 428-2036
-- Flinchbaugh's Orchards, 110 Ducktown Road Hellam, 252-2540
-- Lehman's Orchard, 1918 Powder Mill Road York, 741-3704
-- Paulus Orchards, 522 East Mount Airy Road Dillsburg, 432-2544
-- Shaw Orchards, 21901 Barrens Road South Stewartstown, 382-8879
- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or firstname.lastname@example.org