Favorable weather has created a bumper crop of high quality apples across the state, and retail stands opening around Labor Day should have a good supply of several varieties.

Ralph Yates, secretary of the Minnesota Apple Growers Association, said the 2015 crop is excellent for growers and consumers.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Minnesota Grown Directory lists more than 100 apple orchards, although officials say it’s best to call ahead to determine which varieties are ripe and ready for picking.

Minnesota apples specifically bred to thrive in the state’s climate include University of Minnesota varieties such as Honeycrisp, Zestar!, SweeTango, Haralson and Sweet Sixteen.

Early season apples also include Paula Red and Wealthy, with the popular Honeycrisp usually more available after Labor Day.

Many apple orchards also offer fresh apple cider, pumpkins, fall raspberries and family activities such as crop mazes, petting zoos and hay rides.  Not all orchards offer pick-your-own apples.

For more information, search the directory online at www.minnesotagrown.com or order a free printed copy by calling 1-888-868-7476.

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