Rock and Walworth county orchards enjoying a great year

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Catherine W. Idzerda
September 11, 2015

JANESVILLE—Red delicious is the most popular apple in the United States, according to the U.S. Apple Association.

Another, much less scientific, survey revealed that most Americans recoiled in horror when they hear that news.

Fortunately, local residents will have plenty of apples to pick from this fall.

Area growers said they're having a great year.

“I would say that this is probably the best crop we've had in about five years,” said Lori Jenson, owner of the Apple Hut, 1718 W. Walters Road, Beloit.

For the past several years, growers have struggled with unfavorable weather. In 2012, an early spring and then a hard frost knocked out the blooms. Other years, it was the combination of hard winters and unusual springs that hurt the crop.

Last year, Apple Hut, which grows 17 varieties, had to close early because of the shortfall.

This year, Jenson sees a strong season. Varieties including galas, ginger gold and McIntosh are in. By the end of next week, they expect the Cortlands and the honey crisps to be ready.

The crop also looks good at Quednow's Heirloom Apple Orchard, W5098 County ES, Elkhorn. The orchard sells about 90 heirloom varieties including pink pearl and scarlet surprise.

Last year, the orchard's yields were “more like half a crop,” said Theresa Quednow, orchard co-owner.

“This year is so much better,” she said.

That's been the experience of growers statewide, said Andy Ferguson, president of the Wisconsin Apple Growers Association.

“We have about 180 orchards in the state, and everyone is experiencing a really good crop this year,” Ferguson said. “I wouldn't call it a bumper crop, but it has been a really good year.”

People tend to miss their favorite local apples, Ferguson said. They develop a kind of loyalty to an orchard or a variety.


“Absolutely, oh my goodness yes,” said Jenson. “I've had people say they were glad we were open because they didn't get their favorite apple last year.”

Apple Hut even has a few trees of red delicious. The apple does have its fans.

Is it really the most popular?

Red delicious ship and keep well, and that's useful for institutional settings such as schools or hospitals. It's also the apple you always see for sale in airports or in vending machines. So yes, many acres of red delicious are grown.

At Applehut, people's favorites include honey crisp and Jonagold, Jenson said.

According to the U.S. Apple Association, the top apples--after red delicious--are gala, golden delicious, Fuji, Granny Smith, McIntosh, honey crisp, Rome, empire and Cripps pink/pink lady.

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