RICHMOND—Virginia’s apple growers are expecting a great harvest year, and consumers can expect good quality despite dry conditions and heat this summer. 'The season should be good, and harvest started earlier that normal for some growers,' said Spencer Neale, a commodity marketing specialist for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. 'Our member growers are reporting that the sugars should be higher than normal in the fruit, and the groundwater was ample for the root structure of their trees. While the size of the fruit may be smaller due to high temperatures, the taste will be very good.' Apple harvest began in July. 'Because of the heat, our apples are coming in earlier for harvest this year,' said Tommy Bruguiere of Dickie Brothers Orchard in Nelson County. 'Some varieties like Golden Delicious are a week to 10 days early on harvest. We are encouraging people to come out to pick your own earlier than they normally would for this year, because their favorite variety may be ready to pick.' Consumers can find local sources of Virginia apples with the Fresh Food Locator feature at SaveOurFood.org . 'Your best bet to find out when your favorite variety is coming into season is to contact the orchard for availability and business hours,' Neale said. Contact Neale at 804-290-1153, Bruguiere at 434-277-5516 or Sherri McKinney, VFBF senior video producer, at 804-290-1148.