Apple orchard thriving during cooler August - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Apple orchard thriving during cooler August

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For farmers, Mother Nature can be their worst enemy. That's not the case this season for one apple orchard who says they're on track for their best year ever.

Over 120 varieties of apples grow at Wilson's Orchard in Iowa City and they're growing strong at that.

"So far its on track to be the best ever but I have to be careful because no wood to knock on and anything can happen," Wilson's Orchard Co-Owner, Paul Rasch, said.

A fourth-generation apple grower, Paul Rasch knows his apples. He says the early, almost fall-like temperatures, is a good thing.

"We want hot sunny days and cool nights and normally it's September, sometimes late-September before we get into that kind of weather but this year we've had it in August," Rasch said.

In turn, he said it's making for better apples.

"We've had just great, steady, cool conditions at night which lead the fruit to ripen very evenly. It also puts great color on the fruit and puts really great flavor into them. The heat builds sugar and the cool builds flavor," he said.

It's also a good thing he said because the apples are staying on the trees longer.

"It's ripening more slowly so they stay on the trees quite a bit longer and that's really true of these early varieties of particular because they really like get soft and just go to mush and fall off," Rasch said. He said that also means there has been less waste this year too.

While it's been a rather dry summer, Rasch said the benefits go either way. More rain would mean bigger apples but on the other hand, he said less rain intensifies the flavors.

Wilson's Orchard is also known for its ciders. Rasch said the so-far perfect growing season means they'll have more apples to work with in making new types of ciders this year.

He also expects pumpkins to have a richer color if the weather continues.

The orchard opened at the beginning of August and stays open through October.

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