Apple crop unusually early due to warm spring - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Apple crop unusually early due to warm spring

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ERIE, Michigan -

A trip to the apple orchard is a fall favorite for many families.

This year, though, if you wait until the typical time for the trip, it may be too late.

The month of March was 13 degrees warmer than average, at least in southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio, and that really jump-started the growing season for the apples.  Therefore, things are running ahead of schedule, and now is the time to come on out to the orchards.

We spoke with Mike Mitchell, the Outside Manager for Erie Orchards & Cider Mill.  "It put everything into full blossom, full bloom, at the end of March.  It's supposed to be the end of April when you're supposed to have a full bloom."

An early start can be a dangerous thing, due to damage from mid-spring frost.

Erie Orchards was protected, only four miles from Lake Erie.

Mitchell added, "We were pretty fortunate because of Lake Erie.  It sent some east wind to us, kept us just above the freeze a few nights when the other guys got hit, and we came through it, really, truly, smelling like an apple - smelling like a rose. You can see it. We've got a great crop, it really didn't hurt anything at all.... Usually it's mid-September when everything really gets going, but right now, they're ready, absolutely."

We ran into one family making their visit just a little earlier than normal, on the final day before school begins for Monroe Schools.

Pat Trout told us, "we try to come here every year and pick a bushel full, so we can make some things at home and have apple crisp, and have apples through the winter."

It's prime time at the orchard.

"The next 6 weekends: hay rides, pony rides, apple picking, pies, donuts, making cider up there, just a complete festival is what it is. Crafters..." Mitchell said.

With the apples running ahead of schedule, Mike says that now is the time to come on out, because if you wait too much longer, once they hit the ground, it's too late.

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