Some Apple Hill Farms Opening Early

PLACERVILLE -- Fall isn't officially starting for about another month, but some Apple Hill farms are getting a head start on the season.

Growers typically see their biggest crowds in October, but some see the Labor Day weekend as a way to ease into harvest season.

"We are here before Labor Day, so we have a lot of space to explore all the things here, so (it's) pretty exciting," Christian Eck, who is visiting from Germany with his wife Bianca, told FOX40 on Monday.

The early opening is made possible because much of the apple crop is ripening early. Some fruit is already falling from trees -- and it's no accident.

High Hill Ranch was on the ground floor of what is now known as agritourism, planting apple trees in place of disease-prone pear trees decades ago. Early varieties mean they can stretch out their season.

"Honey crisps, Gravenstine, the McIntosh apples that are harvested in August, helps stretch out the season, gives everyone an early start," High Hill owner Jerry Visman said.

There’s also other fruit and produce grown in Apple Hill, drawing visitors who want peaches, pears, prunes as well. Add wine and Christmas trees, and Apple Hill becomes a year-round attraction.