Iowa apple crop not hurt by summer extremes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa apple crop not hurt by summer extremes

Dick Czipar sorts through apples at his orchard Dick Czipar sorts through apples at his orchard

A summer of extreme weather isn't dampening the apple crop in Eastern Iowa.

In fact, the USDA is forecasting an increase in apple production of 49 percent in the central states, which are Ill., Ind., Iowa, Ky., Mich., Minn., Mo., Ohio, Tenn. and Wis.

Local growers are seeing that trend, though the crop may be a little delayed.

Dick Czipar owns and operates Czipar's Apple Orchard. He said this year's apple crop is slightly above average.

"We've got a real good crop," he said in his orchard Sunday.

That's despite the major storm that hit Dubuque County in late July, which brought minimal hail damage to his 10 acres of about 2,000 trees.

"That just creates a little more sorting, but it wasn't enough to really hurt us a lot," Czipar said.

Severe weather in early April set his whole season back 20 days, but Czipar's apple pickers are quick.

"We can pick a lot of apples in a weekend if we get a big crew out here," Czipar said. "Today, we'll pick with four or five people and we'll have probably 200, 300 bushels picked."

Czipar's 15-year-old grandson Tyler Czipar helps harvest the crop.

"Every apple that you eat has been picked by hand," he said, pulling a piece of fruit from its branch.

In his case, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree business.

"I'd actually like to own it when I get older. I'd like to carry on the tradition of picking apples and having the Czipar's Apple Orchard," Tyler Czipar said.

As for the end of harvest season, Dick Czipar said, "Our goal is to be picking the final apples around World Series time."

It's a past time as American as apple pie.

Czipar said a good frost actually helps several varieties of apples by bringing out the sugars.

He said apple-picking peak in his orchard is next weekend, which coincides with the Czipar's Orchard's annual apple festival. That's Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24-25.

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