Julian Apple Days struggles through drought - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Julian Apple Days struggles through drought

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - It's the time of year when San Diegans flock to Julian for apples, but this season has not been very fruitful.

The drought has left hundreds of trees bare, and even forced some orchards to close.

To get some perspective on how this year's apple season in Julian has been, we visited a town staple.

"The season has been not so good. Probably the worst we've had since the fires," Julian Cider Mill owner Sandra Slaughter-Moretti said.

The Julian Cider Mill has been in her family since 1975. We visited her on the first day of pressing apple cider -- a day that should have happened long ago.

"I usually start at the end of August. I might have three, so I will not make it to Thanksgiving," she said.

The state's severe drought has left orchards dry. In addition, the ripening season started early, forcing many to close sooner than expected. It's something Oceanside resident Connie Henderson noticed during her visit Friday.

"We found one place that was open out of 10 or 11 orchards here," Henderson said.

Some businesses have had to bring in apples from elsewhere just to survive.

"You know when apple pie is your livelihood, that's what you have to do."

But not Slaughter-Moretti. Instead, she's relied on other products.

"A lot of our candy, a lot of our mustards and dry fruits we specialize in," she said.

Despite the shortage, she and other business owners want to encourage people to pay them a visit.

Visitor Larry Jackman did. He and others say there are still enough apples to go around, as well other incentives to make it a worthwhile trip.

"Like it's good, candy all around me. You can buy everything," he said. "Julian is a great place, a lot of fun, whether it has all the apples or not."

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