GRANGER - It's one of the signs of the telltale signs of the fall season: Apple picking. Nationally, the apple crop is down this year, but here in Iowa it's a different story.
Sunday was a picture perfect day to go apple picking.
"There was a lot of variety,” said Autumn Steichen, a Des Moines resident. “So, that was nice. You don't have to just pick a bag; you get to choose the ones you want."
"Seeing the different varieties,” said Tracy Morgan, Des Moines resident. “I didn't know half of them, but we got Pink Ladies, these are the ones I knew."
Nationwide, the crop is down because of fires in the Northwest and hail in Minnesota and Wisconsin, but Bryan Etchen's Iowa Orchard is experiencing a bumper crop.
A deep freeze in 2012 started a positive cycling process for all of his apples.
"So, 2013 you had a heavy year,” Etchen explained. “2014 was lighter, 2015, now we're having a heavy year of apples."
But chew on this: This year, the cost to buy these fall favorites is actually down for the vast majority of the crops, with Honeycrisp bulks checking in at 30 percent less than they were just one year ago.
“And I think you're going to continue to see that trend from us,” said Etchen. “We're just getting more and more production, and this is an extremely heavy crop year. So, I think you're going to see our prices going and getting a little lower every year."
And that's good news for first time pickers.
"Our whole bag was ten bucks, so you can't really beat that, said Kimberly Belt, a Des Moines resident.
And Etchen says the fruit this season is spectacular, and will only get better as the trees continue to mature.
“They will grow into about two bushels per tree, and every tree about two feet apart,” he said. “So, we'll only increase in production."
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