"This is one of our best apple crops ever," said \u00a0John Lyman, executive vice president at Lyman Orchards. "I've been on the farm since 1980, and it's definitely one of the best crops that I've ever seen. Fall is apple picking season in Connecticut, and all those looking to head to an orchard to pick their favorite fruit will have plenty to choose from, according to apple farmers. Despite the heavy rains that dampened the summer months, executive director of the New England Apple Association Russell Steven Powell said apple orchards across New England have lucked out in this year's harvest.\u00a0 "We've been pretty fortunate this year: the heaviest rains that came in July were at good timing for the apple trees," he said. "Unlike field crops, the trees can absorb a lot more water and need a lot more water. So it was not a problem. It tends to be a problem if it's really close to harvest - the apples would have kind of blown up too quickly." But the mid-summer rain wasn't the only weather event apple farmers saw. The end of August brought Tropical Storm Henri through Connecticut and two weeks later, the remnants of Ida moved through the state, bringing with them high winds and heavy rains. At Gales Ferry's Holmberg\u00a0Orchards, Russ Holmberg\u00a0said his "very good, heavy apple crop" stood up to Ida's remnants better than expected. "We had a washout on the roads, but as far as the trees go, they were just happy as could be," he said. Avoiding weather extremes beyond wind and rain also helped produce a good apple harvest this year, according to Lyman. "Notwithstanding the wet summer we've had, the weather has been good throughout critical times," he said. "We didn't have any spring frost, we had good pollinating weather and we had good growing conditions early in the season, which is always critical. And with the rain, orchards are on hills, so the trees and the orchards haven't been as negatively impacted as other agricultural operations in low-lying areas." One slight different Powell noticed in this year's crop is its timing, which he said may be between three to seven days ahead of schedule this year. And Holmberg said that while the season for apple picking has just begun, his orchard has Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, McIntosh and Cortland apples ready for guests this weekend. "This may be the last weekend opportunity people have for Gala and Honeycrisp - they are earlier varieties," he said. "But the good news is that all the other varieties that we grow are at the beginning of the season, so those are yet to come." Because some apples are ripening ahead of schedule, Powell noted that fans of Gala, McIntosh, Cortland, Honeycrisp and Macoun varieties should go pick them now before it's too late. "We'll be looking at those in another week," he said. "By the third week of September, you'll have a wide variety of apples. Right now, there's about four or five varieties to pick from...by the third week in September, we'll have close to 12 to 15 varieties available." At Lyman Orchards, Lyman said the orchard is readying its "typical fall harvest" for pickers to pluck off the trees. Varieties like the Paula Red, which is related to the McIntosh apple, as well as the Ginger Gold are being harvested earlier than usual, according to Powell, but the harvest evens itself out as the season progresses.\u00a0 "When we start to get cooler days, and particularly cooler nights, it kind of slows down the harvest a little bit," he said. "We do a crop estimate every August, and it's not uncommon for the growers to say that we're ahead by a few days. That's certainly the case this year, but they always follow that by saying it'll catch up." With orchards readying their crop for the apple picking season, Holmberg said he's glad to see this year produce a thriving crop, not just for his farm but for all those in the state. "Like ourselves, many, many go back generations, and many of our relationships with the other orchards go back generations," he said. "So we all get very, very happy for each other when we see the crop like this."