Some changes at Edwards Apple Orchard as season starts - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Some changes at Edwards Apple Orchard as season starts

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Case that usually holds gallons of apple cider sit empty. Case that usually holds gallons of apple cider sit empty.
Wagons sit behind fence in orchard since no Pick Your Own happening this year. Wagons sit behind fence in orchard since no Pick Your Own happening this year.
POPLAR GROVE (WREX) -

Blame the weather for a smaller than expected harvest at Edwards Apple Orchard but not the drought. As it opens for the year, the orchard deals with a 70 percent drop in apples.  The decline in fruit means some changes for customers.

"Its a family tradition for us to come out to the orchard every fall, so first day that it is open we have to come out and get our donuts and get our cider and walk around and hang out here," says Lindsey Towne, customer.

You might not be able to tell right away but there are some things off at Edwards, like a partially empty apple cider case.

"There's a sign in there explaining there's an apple shortage so they just can't produce the gallons yet but maybe by the end of September," says Towne.

Edwards' owner Ken Hall says his crop is about 30 percent of what it normally is. But it's not because we haven't had much rain, Edwards' irrigation system takes care of that.  Hall says in March the weather warmed up to the 80s and trees started producing.  But then there were some hard freezes that killed off the apple blossoms dramatically decreasing crops.

The USDA forecast says states like Michigan and Ohio will see production down nearly 80 percent. But in the northwest, Oregon and Washington should be up 6 percent.

At Edwards there are enough apples to make some cider. But there is not enough to let people "pick their own," instead you can only buy them inside the store.

"It's always a fun experience to go along out there and pick your own stuff but I guess we'll have to wait until next year," says Randy Stubbe, customer

"It's definitely fun, still bring the kids out cause the play area is great and they still got the pony rides and you can pick your own pumpkins and raspberries pretty soon," says Lesa Flickinger, customer.

"What's your favorite part about coming out here?" asks reporter.

"You get to eat donuts and buy stuff," says Ian Johnson, 8, with his sister Olivia Johnson.

This was of course Edwards opening day.  It will be open now 9 to 6 p.m. everyday until November.

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