ST. JOSEPH – Autumn is here, and apple-picking season has arrived right along with it.

Todd Beumer, owner of Collegeville Orchards in St. Joseph, says this season’s growing season has been quite strong overall.

“We’ve got nice quality apples right now,” he said. “Some of the early apples were a little smaller, probably because of the dry spell we had in July, but the later apples are getting to be a nice size.”

Beyond a wide selection of apples, Collegeville Orchards also offers pumpkins, gourds, honey, maple syrup, jams and jellies and other produce. Beumer says business has been strong and steady in spite of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"It seems like it's been a little bit busier this year," he said. "People have been coming out pretty strong so far. We have a lot of pumpkins going out of the pick-you-own pumpkin patch. The apples - we have them all in the store, pre-picked."

Beumer says, while social distancing is a high priority, customers don't have to call ahead of coming to Collegeville Orchards.

“On our busier weekends, which are usually at the end of September and beginning of October, we’ll have to have someone monitoring how many people we have on site," he added.

Collegeville Orchards
Collegeville Orchards

Beumer says certain changes were made in light of the pandemic. This year’s Harvest Festival was canceled due to concerns over maintaining proper social distancing and capacity limits. The petting zoo does not have the option for kids and families to feed the animals. And, wagon rides, offered each Saturday and Sunday between noon and 4:00 p.m., are limited to family groups of six or more.

There's plenty of time left in the harvest season for families to stop out at the orchards. Beumer says the tentative last day of business is Sunday, November 1 – but that could change, Mother Nature permitting.

“If we stay open for another week after that – it will all depend on the weather,” he said. “If it’s nice and beautiful, we’ll stay open.”

Collegeville Orchards' store is open every day from 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. For more info, visit Collegeville Orchards’ website or Facebook page.

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