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Orchards are open and apples are abundant

Minnesota’s apple orchards are open for business, and some early varieties are available. But you may have to wait for some, like the best-selling HoneyCrisp. The Agriculture Department says many varieties are ripening later than usual due to the cool weather this spring.
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ST. PAUL, Minn. – The 2011 apple harvest is underway in Minnesota and for most growers it is shaping up to be a good one. Orchards are open for business and have a good supply of early varieties like Zestar, Paula Red, and others. Harvest of the SweeTango is just beginning and the popular Honeycrisp will be available in mid to late September.

“As a result of the cool spring weather, most varieties will ripen about 7 to 10 days later than normal,” said Paul Hugunin, Coordinator of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Minnesota Grown Program. “If you’re looking for a specific variety it’s a good idea to call ahead or check the orchard’s website to verify which varieties are available.”

Hugunin says more than 115 retail orchards are listed in the MDA’s 2011 Minnesota Grown Directory. He says in addition to apples, many orchards also have pumpkin patches, fall raspberries, hayrides and other family activities.

“Having so many great local orchards in the directory makes it easy to find one to match your own preferences. Some offer lots of activities and entertainment along with apples – while others simply focus on providing great tasting apples,” said Hugunin.

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