» Indiana orchards are still harvesting fun

Indiana orchards are still harvesting fun

By Abby Leeds

October 5, 2020

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COVID-19 guarantees that the Autumn of 2020 will be like none we have experienced. We will be exploring what that means in Indiana by telling the stories of Purdue Agriculture’s and Purdue Extension’s interactions with communities throughout the state. We invite you to follow our series on this Season of Change.

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eaves are changing, the air is cooler and Hoosiers are still looking for fun and safe things to do while we follow pandemic health and safety standards. From picking apples and pumpkins to firing apple cannons and getting lost in a corn maze, Indiana’s orchards provide fun activities for all ages to enjoy, even if they do look slightly different than past years.

In addition to changes due to COVID-19 precautions, farm visitors will notice that there are fewer apples to pick this year. A late frost blanketed the state this past April and had a devastating effect on the apple crop.

Three Apples

Peter Hirst, Purdue Extension fruit specialist, said that although apple harvest is down 70 percent in Indiana, visitors can still find quality fruit. Some apple varieties are heartier than others and others weren’t mature enough to be significantly damaged. Even within a farm, frost damage can vary because of the complexity of how the cold air moved and how long it lasted.

He explained that while the apples may not be as cosmetically appealing as in past years, they are still great to eat.

“Sometimes with frost damage, it will create some scars on the outside of the apple. It is still perfectly safe to eat and will taste good, but it may not be quite as pretty,” said Hirst.

Most apple varieties can be grown successfully in Indiana and shoppers can expect to find many different varieties at an orchard or farm market. Purdue bred varieties – Pixie Crunch and Gold Rush, are some of Hirst’s favorites.

“Pixie Crunch is a smaller apple that is crimson red with a crisp flavor and is a good eating apple. I also like Gold Rush. It’s a high acid, high sugar apple with a rich flavor that is great for baking or making cider. It matures later in the season, so people should begin seeing it here in October. Both of these varieties seemed to have survived the early frost.”

“The bottom line is, many growers do still have apples and some should still have u-pick options. The other traditional activities at these farms like the pumpkin patch or petting zoo, will still be open.”

Purdue Extension steps in to help Hoosier fruit growers

From juicy red strawberries to sweet apples and melons, Indiana is home to many fruit growers. While each year presents its challenges in the field, this year Indiana faced an unfortunate late frost event, causing crop damage during a crucial point in the growing period. Outside of the fields, growers faced another challenge, creating a safe and healthy environment for employees and customers.

Read Full Story >>>

Indiana 4-H’ers demonstrate resilience

Each year, youth from Indiana’s 92 counties learn and fulfill the 4-H pledge, vowing their hands to larger service and their health to better living from their club to their community. They participate in club meetings, community service activities, leadership events and more while completing a project of their choice. Each project is a collection of hard work and hands-on learning experiences, resulting in new skills that prepare youth to be leaders in their communities.

Read Full Story >>>

Managing Mental Health in a Summer of Change

Angie Frost had been hearing from youth and adults that they needed more mental health resources. So the Healthy Living Extension Specialist for Indiana 4-H Youth Development trained a group of Teens as Teachers early this year to lead other youth in practicing social and emotional wellness. “We focused on that in February, without at all knowing what we’d be going through a month later.”

Read Full Story >>>

Purdue Extension steps in to help Hoosier fruit growers

From juicy red strawberries to sweet apples and melons, Indiana is home to many fruit growers. While each year presents its challenges in the field, this year Indiana faced an unfortunate late frost event, causing crop damage during a crucial point in the growing period. Outside of the fields, growers faced another challenge, creating a safe and healthy environment for employees and customers.

Read Full Story >>>

Indiana 4-H’ers demonstrate resilience

Each year, youth from Indiana’s 92 counties learn and fulfill the 4-H pledge, vowing their hands to larger service and their health to better living from their club to their community. They participate in club meetings, community service activities, leadership events and more while completing a project of their choice. Each project is a collection of hard work and hands-on learning experiences, resulting in new skills that prepare youth to be leaders in their communities.

Read Full Story >>>

Managing Mental Health in a Summer of Change

Angie Frost had been hearing from youth and adults that they needed more mental health resources. So the Healthy Living Extension Specialist for Indiana 4-H Youth Development trained a group of Teens as Teachers early this year to lead other youth in practicing social and emotional wellness. “We focused on that in February, without at all knowing what we’d be going through a month later.”

Read Full Story >>>

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