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Orchard making the best of stormy situation

With help from the community, a fruit farm is recovering from a hailstorm and giving back to others.

ELYSBURG, Pa. — Green's Fruit Farm near Elysburg was set to have its best apple crop in ten years, but that all changed in about five minutes. Last Thursday's hailstorm came and went quickly and caused a lot of damage to the apples. It wiped out the majority of the crop.

"But there's still good apples out there. Saturday night, we were kind of just thinking, 'Is there anything we can do with them?'" Sara Hricko said.

Owners Sara and Bobby Hricko say while the majority of the apples were dented or bruised, if they are picked within the next few days, they can be used for applesauce.

"By making applesauce, we can deal with the rotten apples and preserve it and then send it out to the community that way," Bobby Hricko said.

The Hrickos had employees but had to send them home after losing their crop.

"We're not going to get enough money out of these apples in order to pay them and then make the finances work, so we're just so grateful that the community is allowing us to repurpose these, helping them benefit someone," Bobby said.

After the Hrickos story aired on Newswatch 16, people from all over reached out. Many of their friends came to help them pick apples.

Joe Brokus of Elysburg was there all weekend.

"They give back so much. I know them personally. I knew Bobby's grandfather, and they're great people."

"We were astonished at the response we got. We had cars lined up all along the orchard, 30 or more people here with their families picking apples. We picked 450 bushels yesterday," Sara said.

That's around 8,000 pounds of apples. The couple plans to donate the applesauce to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. If you'd like to support Green's Fruit Farm, they will sell apple butter and cider at their roadside stand on Route 487 and will have pick-your-own apples on Fridays and Saturdays for the time being.

Check out WNEP's YouTube channel. 

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