- Associated Press - Sunday, October 25, 2015

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) - Apple growers in west-central Wisconsin are enjoying a bountiful harvest, thanks to what they say has been a year of fairly ideal weather.

“We had a pretty wet spring and summer and one of the highest rainfalls on the records. That was good as far as our apples and pumpkins and water intake,” said Joe Ferguson, who co-owns Morningside Orchard in Galesville with his father, Tom Ferguson, and brother Andy Ferguson.

The damp weather wasn’t entirely a boon, however, since it did increase the chance of disease among the trees and plants, and brought some hail early in the season.

“We had quite a busy time in the spring making sure our trees didn’t get any diseases,” Ferguson said.

Ruth Fleming, who owns Fleming Orchard in Gays Mills with her son Jim, said her orchard was able to avoid the bad weather.



“We have a lot of nice apples. It’s a good year,” Fleming said.

Across the Mississippi River, Joe Chavolla, manager of Southwind Orchards in Dakota, Minnesota, said the weather was a stroke of good luck that led to a great harvest season across the Coulee Region.

It was a “very nice year” for apples to grow, Chavolla said.

“The fruit quality was there. The fruit was pretty large this year in comparison to other years,” he said.

A dry harvest season also helped apple growers, the La Crosse Tribune (https://bit.ly/1R6PYGd ) reported. Not only was the dry autumn good for those picking apples to sell by the bushel, but it also brought in visitors.

“We were very happy with the growth that we saw in our stores and the new people showing up,” Ferguson said

As the picking season draws to a close, the work won’t let up for the apple growers.

“We’re winding down, but we’re ramping up for orchard maintenance,” Ferguson said.

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Information from: La Crosse Tribune, https://www.lacrossetribune.com

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