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Northey: Orchards, pumpkin patches worth visits

By Staff | Oct 18, 2016

DES MOINES (IDALS) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today encouraged Iowans to get out and enjoy Iowa apples, pumpkins and other fall produce by visiting one of the many farms that sell directly to consumers or at the local farmers market. Timely rains and a warm September have helped produce a plentiful apple and pumpkin crop in Iowa.

“Visiting a local apple orchard or pumpkin patch give you an opportunity to enjoy the freshest locally grown produce and also help support these hard working families and give them the chance to showcase their farm,” Northey said. “We are hearing reports of very good apple and pumpkin crops across the state and now is the time to get out and enjoy fresh, Iowa-grown produce and make great family memories.”

There are more than 900 acres of apple trees in the state comprised of dozens of great varieties. Orchards are located throughout the state. Visiting a local orchard is a great way to find new varieties that may not be available in a grocery store. Ask to try a sample and be adventurous.

Pumpkin production has nearly tripled in the last 3 decades to well over 900 acres at last count. In addition to family fun carving a jack-o-lantern, pumpkins are also an extremely versatile ingredient in cooking. Pumpkins make great pies, casseroles and soups. Pumpkin seeds and flowers can also be cooked and enjoyed.

Many farms also host fall festivals with great family activities such as hay rack rides, corn mazes, local music and other activities in addition to the opportunity to pick your own apples or pumpkins.

A list of apple growers and pumpkin patches can be found on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s directory at: www.idalsdata.org/fmnp/index.cfm.

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