It’s fall time here in Wisconsin! A favorite activity of many in the fall is visiting a local apple orchard to stock up on the delicious fruit. One of those apple orchards is Munchkey Apples in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, owned by the Tisch family. Laura Tisch shares what their apple crop is looking like this year and encourages people to come out and visit the farm.
Munchkey Apples is a high density apple orchard, meaning the trees are planted much closer together in rows than a traditional orchard. One advantage to that system is having the ability to irrigate the trees, which Tisch said definitely helped out during this dry summer. “Had we not had irrigation, it probably wouldn’t have been a good situation,” says Tisch, “we would have had a lot of stressed out trees and a small apple crop.” Since trees already set buds so early for the next season, often a hot and dry year can overly stress the trees and actually reduce the yield on the following year’s apple crop.
Pests actually didn’t seem to present much of a problem this year. Many of the pests that are detrimental to an apple crop, prefer more moisture. The only pests Munchkey really experienced this year were more nuisance pests like Japanese beetles, that love to eat honeycrisp leaves, but luckily don’t affect the actual apples.
During the pandemic in 2020, Munchkey along with many other orchards around the state experienced a big rush of visitors. Luckily, they are seeing the same amount of people already coming back for this season. “They had the time last year to come out and they’re making the time again to come out this year,” says Tisch, which they are very appreciative of. The orchard at Munchkey Apples grows around 14 different varieties. They start picking at the end of August with an early honeycrisp variety and the Zestar apples. Right now, they are picking Galas, Blondies and their other honeycrisp crop. Later on in the fall, the McIntosh, Cortland, Crimson Crisp and Pink Lady apples will be ready for harvest. Tisch encourages people to come on out, pick some apples and enjoy some treats from their bakery as well!