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Associated Press, Published August 21 2012

Minnesota apple crop arrives early

ST. PAUL — Minnesota's apple crop has arrived early.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says most varieties are ripening one to two weeks ahead of normal, and many orchards already have early-season varieties such as Zestar for sale.

While the crop is smaller than usual, the department says quality is high.

The early start to the harvest has its roots in Minnesota's unusually warm March. But that also left the apple blossoms vulnerable to frost in April.

John Jacobson of Pine Tree Orchards in White Bear Lake says quality local apples will be available, just not as many as normal.

While many growers are expecting a much smaller crop, the department says some growers are seeing more apples than they had been expecting right after the frost.

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Online:

Minnesota Grown Directory: http://www.minnesotagrown.com

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.