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Minnesota apple harvest running a week behind

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Apple orchards around the state are reporting a late start to the season due to a harsh winter, cool and wet spring, and mild summer, various media outlets report.

Aamodt's Apple Farm outside Stillwater opened last month to sell a variety of its earlier crop, but overall the business is "about a week behind on everything," Laura Aamodt tells the Pioneer Press.

In addition, the Apple Shack at the Carpenter Nature Center in St. Croix Valley intended to open Labor Day weekend, but was forced to push back its start to this weekend.

Despite the late start Charlie Johnson, the president of the Minnesota Apple Growers Association, says apples will be in good supply once the season gets underway.

"But the big, good news this year is that we didn't have a late spring frost and, for the most part, we haven't had any hail. Those two can be killers," Johnson, who also owns the Whistling Well Farm in Hastings, tells the Pioneer Press.

The harsh winter also put the season about 10 days behind in Rochester, KTTC reports.

In past years, the harvest has come in ahead of schedule, Sekapp Orchard's Fred Kappauf says.

"The years have been getting a little earlier than my mother's records from 30 or 40 years ago," Kappauf tells KTTC. "Our average bloom is about a week or two earlier than the long-term average."

The popular Honeycrisp apple – one of the variety of apples bred at the University of Minnesota – is expected ripen in mid-September, according to the Minnesota Apple Growers Association. Other varieties such as the Jonathan, Regent and Keepsake won't be ready for harvest until October, the association notes.

The Pioneer Press says Minnesota's apple season generally runs through early November, and fall apple varieties peak between mid-September and Halloween.

The blog PickYourOwn.org lists all the orchards in Minnesota where consumers can pick their own apples.

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