Wisconsin Apple Orchards
AppleGrowing in Wisconsin
Settlers in Wisconsin began planting apple seeds as early as 1880, but it was another 30 years or so before the state's commercial orchard industry began. Today, commercial apple orchards are spread throughout the state in 46 counties. Apples are grown from the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan and from the Duluth area along Lake Superior to the Illinois border. 56 million pounds are produced in an average year on 7,400 acres. The heaviest concentrations are in Door county with 2000 acres, and the Gay Mills area with 1500 acres. Bayfield county and the Milwaukee metropolitan area also have smaller concentrations of apple orchards.
Every now and then you may come across a truly gigantic apple at a fruit stand, the size of a small pumpkin or a large grapefruit. More than likely it is a Wolf River, which is a variety native to Wisconsin. The first Wolf River was discovered growing as a seedling along the Wolf river near Fremont in 1875.
Wisconsin orchards offer an interesting mix of varieties. As in Michigan, you will find the midwestern favorites like Cortland, McIntosh, Paula Red, Northern Spy and Jonathon. There are also significant plantings of the newer gourmet apple varieties like Fuji and Gala. After that, the list of Wisconsin varieties just keeps growing. A surprising number of orchards grow thirty or more varieties. Given the severe winters in Wisconsin, Minnesota varieties like Honeycrisp, Keepsake and Fireside are also well represented.
"Falling leaves and woodsmoke in the air mean just one thing to the people of
Bayfield, Wisconsin - Apple Festival."
read Small Town, Big Apple Festival
by Rachel Coughtry
AJ Northern Wisconsin Reporter