Spring’s late frosts nipped Lancaster County’s peach harvest but apples didn’t mind the cold.
Most of Lancaster County’s pick-your-own apple orchards are open for picking with a few changes because of COVID-19. One of the biggest changes comes from Masonic Village Farm Market and Orchards, which will not be open to the public because of COVID-19.
Nationwide, growers are expected to produce more than 350 million bushels of apples, about 3 percent less than last year’s crop, according to the 2020 Apple Crop Outlook & Marketing Conference, held in August.
Overall, local apple growers say the crop looks good. Some earlier-blooming varieties like Pink Lady are producing less fruit at Weaver’s Orchard, says Ed Weaver, president. However, the Fuji crop is bigger than usual.
At Brecknock Orchard Farm Market, the gala crop is lighter than usual, says Andrea Martin, co-owner.
Pick-your-own farms have dozens of varieties of apples, from EarliGold (ready in July) to Arkansas Black, which is harvested in November. In between are Honeycrisp, Gala and a lot more.
Apple trees take years before they produce enough fruit for picking.
New varieties found locally at pick-your-own farms include the Pixie Crunch at Weaver’s. Weaver describes it as a good combination of sweet and tart with a size smaller than a jumbo Honeycrisp apple. While not available yet, Weaver says he's excited about the KinderKrisp, Summerset (Honeycrisp and Fuji) and Ludacrisp (described as just like Juicy Fruit gum.)
Most of these farms hold family-friendly activities, especially on fall weekends. This year's schedule of events may be a bit different from years past to minimize sharing craft supplies. To keep people distant, hayrides have been canceled at some farms.
The following orchards are open to pick apples in the Lancaster County region. The farms are listed below the map:
Brecknock Orchard Farm Market
Location: 390 Orchard Road, Mohnton
Season: Picking for varieties like Honey cCisp and Gala have started. Apple-picking will be available through early November.
Cost: Pick-your-own apples are $1.85/lb. up to 20 pounds and $1.50/lb. for 20 pounds and more.
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Wednesday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, closed.
Events: Fall festivals will be Saturdays from Sept. 26-Oct. 31 plus Columbus Day. There will be activities and food but no wagon rides.
Cherry Hill Orchards Outlet
Location: 400 Long Lane, Lancaster
Season: Picking for varieties like Honey Crisp, Fuji, MacIntosh and Ginger Gold have started and picking will continue through the second or third week of October.
Cost: Apples are $2/lb. for 1-10 pounds; $1.50/lb. for 11-20 pounds and $1/lb. for more. Also, there is a $5/person entry fee, will be deducted from fruit picked. Children 3 and under are free.
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, closed.
Events: Hayrides to the pumpkin patch are planned for Saturdays in the fall.
Details: cherryhillorchards.com or 717-872-9311
Location: 40 Fruit Lane, Morgantown
Season: Picking for varieties like Honey Crisp, Gala and Macintosh have started and apple-picking will continue through mid- November.
Cost: On weekdays, apples are $28 for a half-bushel bag (about 20 lbs., with discounts for more than one bag) and a peck bag (about 10 lbs.) is $19. On weekends, a half-bushel bag is $30 (with discounts for more than one bag) and a peck bag is $20.
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Events: New is a fall photo tour, open daily. The tour is a self-guided walking tour through the orchard to six stations. Tickets are $8 per person or $7 for groups of three or more. Children ages 6 and younger are free. Fall festival activities, such as the hayride, face painting and barrel train, will not be held this year but pony rides will be available.