Sennett (WSYR-TV) -- If you plan to take the family apple picking, you might want to call ahead. Crop damage earlier this year has forced some orchards to cancel their pick-your-own service for the season.
Every year Amy Holbrook's family spends a day together at Owen Orchards in the town of Sennett, gathering apples.
“You pick one place and that is kind of where the tradition is and where you go,” said Holbrook.
This year Holbrook is stuck picking her apples from a shelf after the "u-pick" service at her favorite orchard was scrapped.
Gordon Tripp estimates he lost 80 percent of his crop when a warm March produced early growth that was destroyed by frost in April.
"I'm normally the main supplier of cider for the regional market all winter long. We normally go until April taking cider there. This year, we won't be going at all,” Tripp said.
To stay afloat, Tripp decided to grow more pumpkins, pull out of farmers markets, cut his staff of helpers and he eliminated the "u-pick" service.
"People, they'll pick one apple and not knowing how to pick apples, might knock two or three others down in the process. Normally, we'll just factor that in and we can accept that waste. This year, we have to utilize every single apple that we have on the tree,” Tripp said.
Megan Allen planned to meet her parents at Owen Orchard to pick apples, but had to cancel when she saw a sign outside the store, letting customers know it's not an option this year.
"It stinks because I've done this every since I was little. We've always come here,” Allen said.
Loyal customers are hoping for better luck next year for the sake of orchards and family traditions.
“The plus side is when they’re smaller, they’re sweeter,” said Owen Orchards owner Gordon Tripp.
Tripp isn't alone in his dilemma. Several Central New York orchards won't offer customers the option to pick their own apples this year because of crop losses, but many places are still open for business. The key is to call ahead. Click here to find contact information for many local orchards.