This year’s harvest may have smaller apples

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The Erickson family has had an apple orchard in Bayfield since 1910. 

With lessons passed from generation to generation, the Ericksons are well-versed in the art of farming during a drought.

“Every three or four or five years. You get these dry conditions,” said Owner of Erickson Orchards and Country Store Fred Erickson. “We take a lot of aggressive, active things to make sure that I don’t lose my crop.”

All seven of the farm’s ponds helped with irrigation this year. 

“We planted 310 trees this spring, and I was fortunate that a good friend of mine watered them every three days during that drought period. But otherwise, they wouldn’t have made it,” said Erickson. “I actually ended up irrigating a lot this year on my strawberry crops. We had a phenomenal crop. I drained the pond, but I saved the crop.”

Having older apple trees is good as far as this year’s crop is concerned.

“They’re a little bit smaller this year, but it depends on how many are on the tree and the structure of the tree,” Erickson explained. These old trees that I have can sustain a lot.”

Bayfield is currently in Severe Drought as conditions continue to worsen in Wisconsin. More rain like the area had on Wednesday is essential between now and harvest time. 

“Every drop counts,” said Erickson. “Right now, the apple trees are sucking up as much moisture as they possibly can, and this rain now will probably determine what our crop is going to look like come another three or four weeks from now.”