This time of year, Bruce Van Brocklin can usually be found deep inside the apple trees at Reed's Orchard outside Paris with a sack around his neck and his hands in motion.
Van Brocklin has been at Reed's for 12 years, picking apples and pears in the fall, pruning in the winter and mowing and doing carpentry the rest of the year.
Van Brocklin, 74, a New Hampshire native and a machinist by trade, has picked apples since he was a boy.
"When I was 6, my uncle told me someday I'd be able to pick 100 bushels a day. At 17, I picked 120 bushels in a day. That was 10 bushels an hour for 12 hours," he says. "I've always liked it."
At 48 pounds to a bushel, that's 5,760 pounds or more than 15,000 apples in a day.
The number of apples in a bushel can be anywhere from 80 for very large varieties like the Matsu, Van Brocklin says, to more than 200 for the Grimes Golden he was picking last Thursday.
"You're moving your hands about twice as much as you do for the Matsu."
By 11 a.m., he'd picked 27 bushels. A typical day's total at Reed's might be 50-60 bushels, but he has picked as many as 84.
"For me," he says, "there's always a certain challenge" to how many he can pick. "If they're ready, and it's time for them to drop, then it's much easier," he says.