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Local Apple Crop Poised for the Picking

Hannah Newman, 16 months, picks apples for the first time at Rock Hill Orchard in Mount Airy.
Hannah Newman, 16 months, picks apples for the first time at Rock Hill Orchard in Mount Airy. (By Katherine Frey -- The Washington Post)

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By Mary Jane Solomon
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, September 15, 2006

Whether your "apple a day" of choice is a sweet, crunchy Red Delicious or a tart, green Granny Smith, you can enjoy it fresh from the tree at one of the region's many pick-your-own orchards.

Growers in Virginia -- the nation's sixth-largest apple-producing state -- and Maryland report bountiful fall crops that bear few or no ill effects from summer's alternating heavy rains and prolonged dry spells.

"The fact [that] we are now getting some cool nights will help give the apples a deeper, darker red color this fall," says David Robishaw, regional marketing development manager of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Though most orchards have three or more ripe varieties now, Robishaw recommends calling orchards before visiting to make sure the fruit is ready to pick.

"The most popular varieties continue to be the Red and Golden Delicious," he says. "But Galas, Fujis, Rome, Stayman, Winesap and Granny Smith all remain popular."

The following orchards, most within 90 minutes of the Washington area, offer pick-your-own apples throughout September and, in most cases, during much of October. All picking dates listed here are approximate. Most sites also sell fall fruits and vegetables along with cider, baked goods and fall decorations. Many orchards feature seasonal activities such as hayrides and festivals.

For additional information about pick-your-own apple orchards, descriptions of apple varieties, apple facts and schedules of apple-related festivals, visit the following Web sites:

APPLE PROMOTION BOARDhttp://www.marylandapples.org.

PICKYOUROWN.ORGhttp://www.pickyourown.org.

U.S. APPLE ASSOCIATIONhttp://www.usapple.org.

VIRGINIA STATE APPLE BOARDhttp://www.virginiaapples.org.

Maryland

Baltimore County

WEBER'S CIDER MILL FARM 2526 Proctor Lane, Baltimore. 410-668-4488. http://www.webersfarm.com/ . Market open daily 9 to 8, with apple picking Saturdays and Sundays 10 to 5 until the supply runs out, probably at the end of September or early October. Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Jonathan available. The Johnny Appleseed Festival Sept. 23 and 24 from 11 to 5 features crafts, children's games and live bluegrass. Free, but games require fees.

Carroll County

BAUGHER'S FARM ORCHARD MARKET 1236 Baugher Rd., off Route 140 west, Westminster. 410-857-0111 (recording with directions) or 410-848-5541. http://www.baughers.com/ . The market is open daily 8 to 6, 8 to 5 when daylight saving time ends, through Dec. 24; it reopens in late spring. Pick-your-own apple hours Friday through Sunday 9 to 5 during September. Limited apple picking may be available during pumpkin-picking hours, Saturdays and Sundays 10 to 5 Sept. 30 through Oct. 29. The orchard also will be open Oct. 20 from 10 to 4, when Maryland public schools are closed. September varieties include Empire and Jonathan, followed by Red Delicious and Golden Delicious in late September and possibly early October. Call ahead for availability of Stayman and Ida Red apples in October. Wagon rides to the orchard are free, as are a petting zoo and playground.


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