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First apples of season promise fruitful harvest

WORTHINGTON -- Area orchards are once again lined with rows of color, as the year's growing season has already lent to a fruitful fall harvest. And it's only beginning, as apple varieties will gradually mature at area orchards now through mid-Nov...

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Kyler Muth from Ireton, Iowa proudly shows off his choice of honey crisp apples at the Ocheda Orchard south of Worthington at 29716 Read Ave. (Tim Middagh /The Globe)

WORTHINGTON - Area orchards are once again lined with rows of color, as the year’s growing season has already lent to a fruitful fall harvest.

 

And it’s only beginning, as apple varieties will gradually mature at area orchards now through mid-November. SweeTango, Honeycrisp, Chestnut Crab and Zestar! are a few varieties that are now ready to be picked.

 

Orchards in the Worthington area are hopeful that the quality of produce displayed in the first wave of maturity is an indication of what is to come.

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Dayton Avenue Orchard Owner Randy Wolf said the orchard south of Adrian is adorned with some big, nice looking apples that experienced no hail or damage.

 

“We were a little dry for a couple weeks, but overall it was great,” Wolf said of the growing season. “Last year was a big crop, too, and we’re hoping this year is as good as last year or better.

 

The crop at Ocheda Orchard in Worthington is also looking juicy. Ocheda Orchard Owner Chuck Nystrom said the eight inches of August rainfall helped this fall’s crop following a fairly dry July.

 

The orchard avoided 90 to 95 percent of hail storms, Nystrom said. Other orchards across the state have not been so lucky, he added.

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“There’s been a lot of hail around the state, so I’m guessing we’ll sell to some other orchards to get them by the season,” Nystrom said.

 

While north of Worthington experienced some more hail, Stonegate Orchard Owner Jason Kirchner said the orchard in Slayton is still lined with plenty of apples for the season that runs through the end of October.

 

The orchard also boasts a little store with locally-produced honey, jams and jellies, frozen pies, pumpkins and squash.

 

Each orchard has a Facebook Page or website that is updated when apple varieties reach maturity.

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Jayce Van Berkum (left) from Rock Rapids, Iowa and Kyler Muth from Ireton, Iowa show off their choice picks of honey crisp apples at the Ocheda Orchard south of Worthington at 29716 Read Ave. (Tim Middagh /The Globe)

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