Wisconsin Apple Growers See Bumper Crop


After many apple growers suffered a devastating season last year, Wisconsin’s apple crop is bouncing back.

Just off the Great River Road in Trempealeau is Ecker’s Apple Farm, which has been in the family for four generations. Orchard manager Sara Ecker gazes out at rows of apple trees that will be ready to pick in a couple weeks. “There’s some honeycrisp trees right here, for the pick-your-own.”

Between last year’s drought and hail, the USDA says Wisconsin apple growers had the lowest production season since 1945. Last year, the Eckers had some apples grow, but they had to rely on other local farmers so they could make enough money selling pies and caramel apples. Ecker says she welcomes this summer’s cool weather and steady rain. “I think it has been going phenomenally well. We have a great crop on the trees and things are starting to ripen and come in.”

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Her sister and marketing manager Jessica Ecker says they’ll have an excess of apples and will even have enough to participate in the Farm to School program. But she remains cautious. “You know, you’re not safe until they’re picked and off the trees, so fingers crossed! But it looks like we’re going to have a great year.”

According to the Wisconsin Apple Growers Association, farmers across the state are having a much better year when it comes to quality and quantity. After many farmers had to suspend pick-your-own outings last year, they’re now back in full force. Some apple varieties could still be stressed from last year’s drought and some farmers could be short on cider at the beginning of the season. If the apple crop is as big as it’s expected to be, orchards could be open until December.