Iowans are encouraged to visit a local Iowa apple orchard or pumpkin patch to stock up on great, locally grown fruits and vegetables.
"Apple harvest is in full swing and many farmers have a good crop even with the very challenging weather they have experienced this growing season," says Bill Northey, Iowa secretary of agriculture. "There is no better way to enjoy fall in Iowa with your family than to head out to an apple orchard or pumpkin patch and take in the beautiful autumn weather and fall colors while providing your family with healthy, wholesome food and great memories."
Iowa has a good crop of apples and pumpkins this year
Many orchards are reporting a good crop and strong sales so far this year, with more people getting out and coming to the farm. Several farms are offering new varieties, which present a great opportunity for people to try different types of apples. Many orchards are offering festivals and family entertainment as well.
Pumpkin growers have also faced challenges with the very wet weather, but many growers are reporting a plentiful crop. So, picking a pumpkin to adorn your front porch or to create that perfect pie will certainly still be an option this fall.
To help you plan for your day here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your trip to the orchard or pumpkin patch:
• Check the website of the farm you will be attending as there are many fall festivals occurring that will offer heaps of fun activities and entertainment for the whole family
• Wear comfortable clothes and shoes that you aren't afraid to get dirty
• Bring sun gear (lotions/hats/sunglasses)
• Many farms offer drinks and snacks and even lunch, so you may want to bring along some extra money (check with the farm before going)
Be sure and read rules of the farm and adhere to them as they are there to help keep you safe. "Visiting a local orchard or pumpkin patch is a great family activity and a way to show your children the farms where our food comes from," notes Northey. For more information or to find an apple orchard near you, you can visit the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship's website at www.iowaagriculture.gov/AgDiversification.asp or call Tammy Stotts at the state ag department at 515-281-7657.