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Apple orchard owner says he only expects 10 bushels total this year due to May frost

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 7:03 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Due to the warm early spring and the frost in May, many orchards experienced a lack of apples this season.

“There are many varieties here that didn’t have an apple on a tree,” said Casey Janowski, owner of Casey’s Orchard.

Janowski said in 53 years this was the second-lowest supply of apples that he ever had, next to the 2012 season. He blames the weather.

“Early in spring we had this 80-degree weather and then within a week it dropped right down in the 20′s and the buds froze on the trees before they even opened up,” said Janowski.

He and his family put a lot of work into maintaining the orchard year-round. They have to keep up with cutting the grass, spraying the trees about every 10-12 days for months, picking the apples, washing them and selling them. Then they start pruning the trees and the cycle starts over for the next year.

Janowski and his wife Marcia Janowski would usually be selling the apples until March, but this year he said he isn’t sure if they will make it through October due to their low supply. He said when they sell out they’ll have to close the store up for the season.

Wilson Creek Orchard in Wittenburg was also hit hard. They’re keeping their doors closed for the season because they simply don’t have enough apples. Terri Nillissen, co-owner of Wilson Creek Orchard, said it was the worst year for apple production they’ve ever had.

“We lost about 99.5% of our apples this year,” said Nillissen.

After picking 759 honey crisp apple trees, they only got two bushels. And out of 150 Mackintosh apple trees, they got 9 usable apples. Nillissen said he isn’t expecting more than 10 bushels total when they are done picking.

Usually, the Wilson Creek Orchard produces around 2,000 bushels with around 1,600 being grade A for clients.

On the bright side, if the weather is normal next year, Nillissen said that the apples will be even more plentiful than regular years due to the low volume this year.

The address for Casey’s Orchard is 2829 Burbank Rd, Stevens Point, WI 54482. They are open 9 am to 5 pm every day. For more information call (715) 344-6814.

For other fall orchard and event information click here.

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