Picking Apples

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SILVER LAKE TOWNSHIP -- Apple picking season is here and at Russell Farms near the New York state line, Carol Gow is thrilled.

"I went to the grocery store today and the apples looked so terrible I didn't want to buy them so I thought, 'I'm going to take a chance' and I come out here and she said I could come out and pick," said Gow.

Russell Farms doesn't officially open for the picking season until Friday but they are letting some customers load up their bags. The apples are just a bit ahead of schedule this year.

"Oh, they're beautiful! Look at them. These are Cortlands and they are very good cooking. I like to make apple sauce and apple pies," said Gow.

The orchard's owner Michael Russell told us he didn't expect to have such good apples back when the season started.  A warm spring brought blossoms out early then came killer frosts that only took some of his crop.

"I was pretty lucky because there were a lot of people who had nothing or very little," said Russell.

The recent rain has helped the apples. He said dry spells were a worry too, but the frost hurt orchards the most.

"It could be my turn next year, but you never know.  You never know how the weather comes in and how it affects you," said Russell.

At Russell's they are in the middle of a project building a sprinkler system over the whole orchard to protect the trees.  They didn't have that ready this year, but they're feeling lucky, the apples look pretty good.

"The phone has been ringing pretty heavy for people wanting to come and pick," said Russell.

Set up is underway to welcome all the customers coming this fall to enjoy the farm's hard work on the crop.

"Oh, this is our favorite time. This is what we work for all season long," said Russell.

And he's glad this year there are plenty of apples here to please.