Bucket list: Enjoy the fall harvestPRESCOTT – Labor Day often marks the symbolic end of the summer, especially for students and parents. But this year, fall treats like apples and pumpkins have already been here for weeks.
By: Danielle Killey, The Republican Eagle
PRESCOTT – Labor Day often marks the symbolic end of the summer, especially for students and parents. But this year, fall treats like apples and pumpkins have already been here for weeks.
An early, warm spring brought the harvest sooner than normal — at Nesbitt’s Nursery in Prescott, apples are a few weeks early, Leah Nesbitt said.
But those who want a taste of the fruit also should come early.
Some blossoms tricked by the warm March weather froze when frost returned in April, causing the orchard to lose 15 to 20 percent of its apple crop, Nesbitt said. Hail later in the spring caused another 15 to 20 percent to disappear.
“But relatively speaking we’re better than some,” Nesbitt said, noting that others struggled with greater losses or even had their entire apple crops wiped out.
A variety of apples are for sale now at Nesbitt’s, including Honeycrisp, Haralson, Gala, Sweet 16 and Northern Lights. Different types are staggered throughout the season so available varieties will change.
The orchard often focuses on growing University of Minnesota breeds of apples because they’re “developed in the climate we live in,” Nesbitt said.
Usually apples don’t run out until around Christmastime, she said. “But because of the shortage, I’d say people should get what you want now and get your fill,” she said.
And it will get busy.
“As soon as we have apples it picks up considerably,” Nesbitt said of the traffic at Nesbitt’s.
The nursery and orchard also plans to see more visitors when it opens the Happ-E-Hills pumpkin farm in mid-September. There are activities for kids and adults alike, including rides to the pumpkin patch, baby animals, trips on wagons and trains and more.
Nesbitt’s, a family-run operation, has plenty of options now for those heading out to find apples and apple products such as cider and pies. Even though they don’t let customers pick their own fruits, “there’s still an experience” of visiting the store and site, Nesbitt said.
It also features Oasis Eatery, with breakfast and lunch selections from quiche to soup to calzones.
All the food offered at Oasis Eatery — and through the company’s catering services — is from Nesbitt’s or neighboring farms, Nesbitt said.
“They’re everything you need right here,” she said. “Everything we do is local. That’s our thing.”
She has coined the term “localicious” to describe the effort to buy and promote area items.
“It creates this big circle and that’s why we do it.”
An easy and scenic drive along the Great River Road, Nesbitt’s is just off Wisconsin State Road 35 in Prescott.
For those who might not want to make the trip, Nesbitt’s products also can be found at the Red Wing Farmers Market and Riverbend Co-op.
For more information, visit www.nesbittsnursery.com.