Apples ripe for picking - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Apples ripe for picking

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Apples are ripe for picking thanks to a warm spring.

The warmest March on record put the apples in a growing frenzy, making them more susceptible to a frost or freeze.

When frost came into the forecast in April, farmers did everything they could to save their season.

Sekapp Orchard setup nearly 20 fires in April to keep the air stirred to prevent the frost from covering the early blooming trees.

"We spent three days busting our bums, cutting wood, hauling round bails and up all night burning, preparing the whole next day," said Fred Kappauf of Sekapp Orchard.

The effort paid off for the orchard.

"I personally think that had everything to do with it," said Kappauf. "I've talked to lots of different growers that tried lots of different approaches to save their blossoms, and I don't think any of them faired as well as we did."

Recent rain has helped Sekapp Orchard have the largest crop it has ever had.

"They just have a great flavor and they're juicy, sweet and really crisp," said Kappauf.

Now that all the hard work has paid off, it's time for the orchard's favorite time of year.

"It's nice to see the customers, the kids smiling when they are going for a wagon ride, eating a fresh apple," said Kappauf. "It doesn't get any better than that."

Sekapp Orchard plans to start wagon rides to pick your own apples by August 30.

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