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Wet, cooler climate places a damper on apple season

The recent rains have created a problem for orchards in the area.
Apple counts are down and if the weather doesn’t shape up, it could end up hurting the season even further.

“The season has been a challenging one to say the least,” says Greg Hofacker, owner of Hofacker’s Hillside Orchard in Appleton. “And every farmer is in the same boat.”

It’s been a cooler summer. And the coolness has a cost.

“Now, everybody’s hoping that we don’t get a frost and that we get a late frost because by the time everything matures–same with apples–it’s two weeks behind schedule,” he said.

Apple counts at Hofacker’s Hillside Orchard are down by about 25 percent.

“You can go ahead and pick a red apple, but the taste might not be there,” he said.

The summer heat just hasn’t been there. And that’s affected the growing season for more than just apples.

“It’s all due to the effects of the weather,” said Hofacker. “I mean, you need to have so many growing-degree days for corn, apples, whatever you’re growing and we just didn’t have the growing-degree days.”

The warmer 70-80 degree weather this week is helping.
But the honey bees need to go to work. And they won’t buzz about without some warmth and sunshine.

“People don’t understand: without bees, you don’t get apples, you don’t get corn, you don’t get alfalfa,” said Hofacker. “There’s a lot of things connected to pollination.”

A slow start for sure, but it’s not all doom and gloom.

“We’ll have apples, it’s just going to be a little later,” he said. “We’ll have pumpkins, they’re just going to be a little later. And when you go in there and your variety’s not ready, go pick another variety. We can’t control Mother Nature.”


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