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Becky Pulford shows off one of the ripening apples from some of their 19 varieties, in this 2018 photo.

Apple picking season has arrived, and a dwindling number of local growers have already opened their orchards to offer some of the best tree-ripened apples in the country.

Pulford Appletree Orchard is recognized as one of the larger apple growers in Tehachapi, offering 19 varieties of pre-picked apples this year.

According to Andrew Pulford, the orchard opened for business Sept. 7. Customers are invited to make their own assortment out of pre-picked apples.

"We started with the Galas, but we are wrapping up the season on the Galas, and moving on to some of our other varieties," said Pulford. "We will be moving on to the Red Delicious and Golden Delicious here pretty soon."

Due to the weather pattern, Pulford said the season started a little later this year.

"Things are starting to progress, and we are just getting into the real peak time of the season. The end of September and the first part of October is when we will have the widest variety available," said Pulford.

If things go well, Pulford's will remain open through the first part of November.

Local growers have experienced a tremendous amount of pressure this season from Coddling Moths, the adult form of the apple worm.

"Unlike anything that we have seen in quite some time," said Pulford. "I think we caught it early on, and I don't think it will hinder our season."

There are other growers, too, most of whom are due to open within the next few weeks. They too are experiencing a little later than usual ripening of their apple varieties. Among those set to open soon are Kolesar’s Apples and Knaus Ranch. Both are within a few miles of the Pulfords' and offer U-pick apples.

Pulford's Appletree Orchard is located at 19440 Highline Road. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Visit pulfordappletreeorchard.com for more information.

Kolesar's U Pick Orchard is located at 13500 Highline Road. Five different varieties are available. Hours are Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during picking season. Bring your own take home container.

Knaus Apple Orchard Ranch is located at 19042 Cherry Lane. Apple picking season starts on Sept. 28. Call 822-4142 for more information or for directions or visit knausappleranch.com.

The popular annual Tehachapi Apple Festival will take place this year the weekend of Oct. 12 and 13 on Green Street in downtown Tehachapi. The public is invited to attend and enjoy two days of "Apple Goodness."

For more information on the Apple Festival, visit tehachapiapplefestival.com or call 374-0395.