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Rochester

Apple Picking Season Off to an Early Start

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Rochester: Apple Picking Season Off to an Early Start
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Apple picking time will be in full swing this week on Joseph Heberle's fruit farm.

"We're probably a week or 10 days ahead," said Heberle.

The life-long farmer has about 200 acres of apples in land straddling Kendall and Brockport.
Like many farmers across the state, his crop took a hard hit because of this year's warm March and cold April days.

"In Brockport we have 50 acres that we won't even pick because there's no apples at all," said Heberle.

Still, he considers himself one of the lucky ones. Heberle managed to have plenty of apples to distribute this harvest.

"I think there will be enough to go around, hopefully," he says.

Although the spring took a bite out of 50 percent of New York's apple crop, the New York Apple Association wants to put the word out about this year's early harvest.

"We just want people to know that there are apples out there. There are going to be New York State apples. They will be paying a little more in the store because we have a smaller crop," said Molly Golden, NY Apple Association Marketing Director.

Golden says varieties available on store shelves may vary.

"This weekend should be Macintosh apples, the Honey Crisp, the Galas," said Golden.

She maintains this is also an ideal time to pick your own.

"We also want to let consumers know that if they do enjoy going out to farms they should get out their early. The apples have come out 10 to 14 days earlier than normal and they should call ahead before they go to their favorite orchard just to see what apple varieties they are picking at that moment," said Golden.

Golden says apple harvest is also expected to end early. That's when farmer's like Heberle will be able to tally up their losses for the season. He estimates it could take awhile before this season's deficit grows back into a healthy profit.

"It might take two or three years to make it up," said Heberle.

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