There's a list of things that mean fall to Ann Swaney: mums, pumpkins, changing leaves, cable-knit sweaters, football games and fresh apple cider.
But with cider at prices that range from $5.98 to $7.49 a gallon, the Dover resident said she's skipping one of her beloved traditions this year.
“I could grow my own apple tree for that much,” she said facetiously.
Above-average spring temperatures led to an early bloom for fruit trees, but many of those in the Midwest were killed by a subsequent frost, according to reports shared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Michigan lost about 90 percent of its crop, creating a limited supply, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service for the USDA.
There were 291,513 bushels shipped from Michigan this season through Sept. 29, compared to 1,105,540 bushels shipped during the same time period a year ago.
But shipments have been moving as expected in the Appalachian growing district, which includes Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
Though Central Pennsylvania's crop was unharmed, there's still an apple shortage affecting the cost of cider in the region.
Local prices: Many local stores are selling cider at prices $1 to $2 above last year's costs:
--At Giant, prices for pasteurized cider ranged from $5.99 a gallon for the store brand to $7.49 a gallon for the Kime's brand.
--Shurfine and Target were selling half gallons of cider for $3.99 each.
--Walmart prices ranged from $4.48 a gallon for jugged Musselman's cider to $5.98 for fresh cider.
--Weis' apple cider was selling for $5.99 a gallon.
--Brown's Farm Market in Loganville was selling its homemade cider for $5.75 a gallon.
No thanks: Because of those prices, York Township resident Lloyd Rhodes said he'll pass on the cider this year.
“It's almost $2 more than a gallon of milk. I can't see that,” he said.
By comparison, a gallon of Rutter's whole milk this week ranged from $4.30 to $4.36 at the same stores where cider prices were sampled.
But even though cider prices are a little higher this year, Tanya Gervitz said it won't stop her from buying it.
“You can't have fall without apple cider,” she said.
Making it work: Gervitz, a Mount Wolf resident, said she realizes the reason for the price increase and her grocery bill is balanced by buying less meat this time of year.
“I get that there's a shortage and prices probably won't be like this next year. Plus, I'm buying less meat now because I'm not grilling as much, and I'm making more bean soups,” she said.
Cardina Mowbray, a Spring Garden Township resident, said she'd also continue buying cider this season for her family.
“It's up a little, but we don't drink it as much as we do other things. It's not an item I buy every week. I'll probably still buy it a couple times like I always do,” she said.
But a West Manchester Township shopper said he'd need a little more incentive to buy cider this year.
“With prices that high, the cider better have some whiskey in it,” Rob Slobaszewski said, jokingly.
— Reach Candy Woodall at email@example.com.