Apple Season Picks Up - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Apple Season Picks Up

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By Ron Marasco

rmarasco@myabc5.com

 

Bryan Etchen of Iowa Orchard in Urbandale guesses he's picked more than a million apples over the years. 

"I gave up country club management to stay in the family business, so I really, really love the apple business," said Etchen.

He runs the small orchard on Meredith Drive and a larger one in Granger.

"We're growing every year.  We get a little bit larger, (and) a little bit larger," said Etchen.  "Right now I have access to 30,000 tress and growing."

His store sees quite the traffic, especially on weekends.  From fresh apples, to pies, to ciders, if it's made of apples, chances are Bryan has it.

"They're very good apples," said Becky Payton of Des Moines.  "And we got apple butter and apple cider too.  And the cider's really good this time of year."

Bryan's seeing a record crop this year.  He says last year's hard freeze spurred it.

"They (the apples) store all these carbohydrates for the following year, and boy they really came out like gangbusters this season," said Etchen.

His pickers pluck more than 20,000 bushels of apples off his trees every year.  That's about 2 million apples.

Shoppers say they like that Bryan's apples are all natural.

"They're homegrown here," said Debra Elliott, who visits every year from Florida.  "And you know they're taken care of, and as you see, the fruit is very good."

"It's really the health benefit of having a non–waxed apple," said Etchen.  "It's just really brought to proper development.  It has proper sugar levels and it's just a real tasty treat that's a healthy snack."

Some say they won't buy their apples at supermarkets.

"I can just never figure out why people go to the store to buy apples when you can come to an orchard and get them in the fall," said Nancy Anker of Winterset.

And it's the fall that has apple lovers seeing red, but in a good way.

"Fall is a great time of year," said Gary Anker of Winterset.  "We've got football, and apples are ready, and it's just a wonderful time of the year."

Etchen also sells his apples at farmers markets all week long.  His stand in Urbandale is open seven days a week .  His fall hours are from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

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