Apples hang from row after row of trees and the sweet aroma of the fruit emanates from the packing house at Grimm's Green Acres off Ohio 26 in Marietta - it's just as much a sign of fall as the pumpkins and mums that are on store shelves.
Inside the packing house, the apples are sent through a machine that cleans, brushes and polishes them. Along the way, employees snatch up those that are cracked open and cannot be sold.
Those that are bruised and those that are very small are also separated from the rest because although they cannot be sold individually, they are just fine for cider.
There is certainly no lack of variety at the orchard, as there are a total of 5,000 trees there bearing 18 different types of apples.
Apples are also grown and sold at Lane's Farm Market off Ohio 676 in Marietta. There are about 500 apple trees in the orchard there, with about 20 different varieties of apples grown.
Grimm's is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. It has been open to the public two weekends.
Apple handling and storage tips
Select apples that are bruise-free and handle apples gently to prevent bruising.
Select apples that are firm to the touch for the best flavor and crunchiness.
Store apples in the refrigerator to slow ripening and maintain flavor.
Wash individually sold apples in cool water before serving.
Store apples away from strong-smelling foods to prevent them from absorbing unpleasant odors.
Coat apple slices and dices in a mixture of one-part lemon juice to three-parts water - or vitamin C-fortified 100 percent apple juice - to retard browning.
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup natural applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup low fat buttermilk
1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 12-capacity muffin pan with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, mix together two tablespoons of the brown sugar, the pecans and cinnamon.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and whole-wheat flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and oil until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in the applesauce and vanilla.
Whisk in the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Whisk just until combined. Gently stir in the apple chunks.
Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan and sprinkle with the pecan mixture. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of one of the muffins comes out clean.
Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the muffins to loosen them and unmold. Cool completely on the rack.
"We'll likely have a record crop," said Tom Burch, who owns and operates the orchard with his wife, Cathy. "A lot of people when they come out remark at how many apples are on the trees."
Burch said there is an exceptionally large crop this year because the trees haven't suffered any frost damage and due to wet spring weather, the trees weren't thinned out like they normally are.
Folks can either head out into the orchard at Grimm's and pick their own apples for 80 cents a pound or buy fresh packed (pre-picked) apples for $1 a pound, with discounts offered for larger quantities of fresh packed apples purchased.
"Most people are buying the fresh packed, but we've had a fair number of people come by and say 'we've driven a fair distance and this is one of the few you-picks available in this part of the state'," Burch said.
He noted that the most popular type of apple seems to be the Honeycrisp.
"It's almost a crime to cook with them (because) they're so good for fresh eating," Burch said. "People do cook with them, but the vast majority buy them to munch on."
The second most popular type of apple, he said, is the Golden Delicious. Burch said it is good for applesauce and pies.
The Buckeye Gala, Red Delicious and Granny Smith are just a few of the other types of apples that are grown at Grimm's.
Ted Lane, owner of Lane's Farm Market, said he sells a type of apple which isn't sold in many other places called the Grimes Golden.
"It's a really tasty apple and has a very thin peel. It's solid green and when ripe, gets a yellow cast to it," Lane said. "It's fragile - you have to be very careful when you pick it."
Rome Beauty and Winesap are among the types of apples that are sold at Lane's. Lane said the Yellow Delicious is the most popular among customers.
"It's good for eating fresh and makes a good apple pie," he said.
The Jonathan apple, which is known for being a bit spicy, is also popular, he said.
Lane said he's pleased with his crop, although he started picking earlier than normal this year because wet weather conditions in the last few months caused the apples to come on early.
"Towards the end of July we started picking - it seems they came on early and most all of them are ripening early," he said, noting that some varieties that aren't even supposed to ripen until October have already been picked.
Like at Grimm's, folks can either pick their own apples or purchase pre-picked apples at Lane's.
"There's not a lot of people picking - we're doing a lot ourselves," Lane said. "Most people don't have the time to spare."
Homemade apple cider is available at both Grimm's and Lane's. Lane's is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. It is closed Sunday.