ST. PAUL  (AP) - Minnesota's apple crop has arrived early.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says most varieties are ripening one to two weeks ahead of normal, and many orchards already have early-season varieties such as Zestar for sale.

While the crop is smaller than usual, the department says quality is still high.

The early start to the harvest has its roots in Minnesota's unusually warm March. Unfortunately, that also left the apple blossoms vulnerable to frost at a critical time in April.

John Jacobson of Pine Tree Orchards in White Bear Lake says quality local apples will be available, just not as many as normal.

While many growers are expecting a much smaller crop, the department says some growers are seeing more apples than they been expecting right after the frost.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved)