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Apple Picking: Seasonal Fun, Year Round Work

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By Beth Rousseau.
it can be a favorite past time in the Fall and a multimillion dollar in New York State.

But apple picking is more than just a seasonal activity, it takes year round planning.

Long after the final apple has been picked, that's when Farmer Dave Johnson's work really begins.

"I'm pruning the trees now so I have the best possible looking apples in October," says Johnson.

The 7,000 apple trees at Apple Hills farm, which produce 800,000 apples annually. Johnson says pruning that many trees is no small task.

"I start once the tree has hardened off for the winter right around the 1st of January, until the grass starts growing in May," said Johnson.

According to Johnson it takes dedication but without the work, apple picking in the Fall would not be possible.

"Naturally a tree doesn't want to produce a lot of apples so I have to trick the tree into producing nice big apples that a customer wants," says Johnson.

According to Farmer Dave, the most important thing to remember when pruning an apple tree, is to create gaps so the sunlight can hit the apples during the summer time.

"I don't want a lot of branches on top of that apple. I don't want a lot of leaves around it. I want that apple to be hanging in the sunshine," says Johnson.

Families have been picking apples at apple hills for more than 150 years. Farmer Dave says that he's proud to be part of the tradition.

"We take a lot of pride and we're happy people. It's good to get people back to nature when they come up here," says Johnson.

It might not be apple season but you can still visit Apple Hill's Apple Dumpling Café. The café is open from 8 until 4 Monday through Saturday and 9 until 2 on Sundays.