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Local Apple Orchard Suffers 90% Crop Loss

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The apple season is underway in Minnesota. Some of the favorites, like sweetango or honeycrips, are ready for the picking at local orchards.

But you may have noticed the harvest is a couple of weeks behind schedule. And Craig Schaper of Minnetonka Orchards says the search to find fruit without any flaws is a difficult task.

“It’s devastating. I mean, this is what you pray for not to happen,” Schaper said. “You know, this is first time in 36 years that we’ve really been hit hard.”

He has learned to deal with the curve balls that come with weather.

“The typical blossom is middle of May, May 15. This year we were at full blossom on May 28,” he said.

This year’s late spring delayed the crop, but all signs still pointed to a good year.

“We had a great load of apples,” he said. “We had cool nights recently have helped develop some sugars.”

In early August, severe weather rolled through and just a few minutes later, much of the crop was damaged.

But even with the damage, the crop isn’t a total loss. A few blemishes won’t ruin the whole apple.

Picking your own apple is all about the search for the perfect fruit. If anything this year’s weather has made the reward that much sweeter.

Minnetonka Orchards may have lost 90 percent of its crop, but it also leases a nearby orchard that wasn’t touched by the hail.

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