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It's prime time for apples!

MENDON The first week of autumn means its time for apple picking in Rutland County. Apples play a large part in the local agricultural ecomony; they ripen in September and October. While apples are favorites year-round, they are at their best in the fall. Just about everyone has a favorite kind of apple and Mendon Mountain Orchardslocated along the southside of Route 4 in Mendon on the mountain slope between Rutland and Killingtonhas 15 varieties to choose from across 25 acres. Owner of 26 years, Mille Steingrass describes Mendon Mountain Orchards as a family run motel, store and apple orchard. The orchard was planted back in the late 1920s. The store has a lot of Vermont products such as apples, cider, maple syrup, gifts, homemade pies and other seasonal items. Mrs. Steingrass said that her business is 50 percent local and 50 percent tourists. Tourist Julie Rans of Bermuda was shopping for apples in Mendon recently; she is from Hamilton, Bermuda, but travels to Vermont annually to pick her favorite apples and ship home. Heres a quick summary of available apples at Mendon Mountains: The Cortland apple is a sweet red apple over a greenish-yellow background that contains a hint of tartness. Cortlands are great for eating, salads, pies and baking. The Gala apple has pinkish stripes over a yellow background. The sweet apple is excellent for snacking, salads and sauces and it is good for pies and baking. Red Delicious apples are a bright red hue with a sweet taste. This apple is good for snacking, salads and freezing. These apples are harvested in the fall and are available year-round. And perhaps the most favorite of Vermonters is the McIntosh, otherwise commonly referred to as Macs. The apple has white, tender, crisp flesh that's highly aromatic and full of juice. Macs are the principal cider apples in the Northeast. So its apple-picking seasonget out there and enjoy the sights, smells and tastes of Rutland County. The end of Mendons apple season is typically in mid October, but its also determined by weather and the number of orchard visitors.

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