Apple season offers outdoor fun
FINGER LAKES--With many people on the lookout for fun ways to get out of the house but stay safe during the COVID pandemic, apple picking operations across the Finger Lakes are reporting strong numbers this season. Outdoors, socially distanced with healthy food, employees for Reisinger's Apple Country in Watkins Glen said this year's customer numbers might be even better than last year.
"Right now we have about 45 people waiting to pick apples, I definitely think that the numbers have been up for sure," said Taylor Cartwright, co-manager at Reisinger's.
Cartwright said that she has been working with the owner every day to manage the farm and has been amazed by customer response.
"I think numbers are high because people want to get outside and do something active," said Cartwright. "We have been extremely busy."
With decent weather, Cartwright said this year's apple crop has been strong. Along with apples of nearly endless variety, Reisinger's also offers raspberry picking, flower picking and more. However, things like the playground and areas for children have been closed while plenty of hand sanitizer stations have been made available throughout the farm.
In Penn Yan Michael Hiller, owner of Apple Barrel Orchards on Sand Hill Road said the current season is off to a good start.
"We had a busy first weekend and we're doing great," Hiller said.
Growing grapes, cherries and apples, Hiller said the season, which started Sept. 11, wasn't pushed back by COVID.
"Our cherries sold out in a little over three hours, usually they last at least a week," Hiller said.
In his first year as the owner along with his wife after taking over for his wife's parents, Hiller said customer response has been strong.
"We're pretty excited to be doing so well during the pandemic, people seem to enjoy it," Hiller mentioned.
Open until the end of October for picking apples, Hiller said the store will remain open until February.
"We also have a truck that we drive to Bath, Corning and Hornell on Saturdays at select locations to bring apples to customers," Hiller stated.
Hiller added customers have just been grateful to be able to pick apples outdoors with family and friends and they have been respectful of social distancing guidelines.
"I think they are just happy to be outside," Hiller said.