Some Iowans might have the impression that pickings will be slim this year at apple and pumpkins around the state after the late spring freeze and the summer drought. But that is not the case. Orchards and pumpkin patches all over the state are open, have plenty of produce and are ready for visitors.
Just ask Jerald and Cindy Deal of Deal’s Orchard west of Jefferson.
“We’ll have apples here until Christmas,” said Deal. Even though a killing frost hit the last April, Deal has been supplementing the apple supply with apples from western Iowa orchards. The Deal’s, who are in their third generation in the orchard business, grow 45 acres of apples, 10 acres of pumpkins, 10 acres of sweet corn, 4 acres of Christmas trees and 140 acres of row crops.
While corn and soybeans suffered in the summer’s heat, Deal said the pumpkin crop has been great this season. The plants got some early rain and they love a very dry summer. A hard freeze last week means it’s a perfect time to pick your own pumpkins or select them from the orchard store. A large variety of squash and baked goods are also available.
The highlight of autumn in the Jefferson community will be the 2012 Fall Festival at the orchard, Saturday and Sunday, October 13 and 14 (open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.). The festival features horse-drawn hayrides, a haunted house, corn maze, petting zoo, apple slingshot, pony rides, grilled pork, homemade apple pie and live entertainment by acclaimed fiddler David Bellegante. Find out more here: http://www.iowafiddlers.com/
Sunday will include a church service at the orchard.
Deal’s Orchard is located 3 miles west of Jefferson on E53 and ¼ mile south on K Avenue. For directions and more information click on www.dealsorchard.com.
Written by Gary Fandel
Gary is the photographer for Iowa Farm Bureau.