DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today encouraged Iowans to consider visiting a local apple orchard this fall. Many growers are reporting their apples are maturing a little ahead of normal, so now is a great time to visit an apple farm or pick some up at the local farmers market.
“While the cool, wet spring challenged many Iowa farmers, it has been near perfect weather for Iowa’s apple trees and the result is many orchards are reporting a bumper crop,” Northey said. “Taking your family to an apple orchard is a great way to enjoy the autumn weather while also providing your family with healthy, wholesome food and great memories.”
Visiting a local orchard is a great way to find new varieties that may not be available in a grocery store. Most orchards offer samples, so consider trying a new variety this year. Farmers at the orchard can help recommend varieties that are ideal for baking, making apple sauce or eating fresh.
A list of apple growers can be found on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s directory at www.idalsdata.org/fmnp/index.cfm.
Before heading to the orchard here a number of helpful tips to make sure you get the most out of your visit:
· Check the website of the farm you will be attending as there are many fall festivals occurring that will offer heaps of fun activities and entertainment for the whole family.
· Wear comfortable clothes and shoes that you aren’t afraid to get dirty.
· Bring sun gear (lotions/hats/sunglasses).
· Many farms offer drinks and snacks and even lunch, so you may want to bring along some extra money (check with the farm before going).
· Be sure and read rules of the farm and adhere to them as they are there to help keep you safe.