Apples, Pumpkins Having Bumper Harvest

By Forrest Saunders, Reporter

MARION, Iowa - A late frost chilled eastern Iowa last year and left apple tree limbs bare. This year, local growers said Mother Nature did a 180 and brought one of their best harvests in recent memory.

At Allen's Orchard, in Marion, branches are bending to the ground.

"They like to be full; they're showing you how happy they are right now," said Anne Ohrt, who works at Allen's.

Ohrt said a few limbs have even split under the weight. She called it the best season they've had in at least four years, saying they owe it to the weather.

"These trees need a combination of wet- we had a lot of rain. They need sun, and viola. We have beautiful apple trees," said Ohrt.

Chris Gensicke, an owner at Allen's, said the recent hot spell in August was concerning at first, but in the end gave apples great flavor.

"That's helped set that flavor a little bit," said Gensicke. "Everything's got a real high sugar content for size, so that makes for a very flavorful apple."

Pumpkins are a powerhouse this year, as well.

"It's nice and smooth and clean. That's a dandy," said Wilson's Orchard Owner Paul Rasch, checking over one of his pumpkins.

Rasch said his patches have a plethora of perfection. He called it their best yield to date.

"Everything has got beautiful orange color, all the way around," said Rasch.

He said weather was a big help for him, too. A cool spring killed off troubling insects keeping his crop healthy.

"They spread diseases and those diseases kill the vines," said Rasch.
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