Iowa is known for producing pigs and corn but one of the world’s most popular types of apple has its roots firmly in the Iowa soil.
Will Fett, executive director of the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation, says a free cultural event this weekend in the southwest Iowa town of Winterset will focus on Iowa’s important role in apple production. Fett says, “We published a book, ‘My Family’s Apple Farm,’ and we really wanted to celebrate the release of that, looking back at the history of Iowa and how there is definitely a history of apple production here in the state.”
The first 500 people will get a free copy of the new book, written by children’s author Katie Olthoff. She’ll be there to sign autographs and to read from the book. Fett says there will be a lot of talk about an Iowa apple farmer named Jesse Hiatt. “He moved to Madison County, just outside of Winterset, and had a very stubborn apple tree that he kept cutting down,” Fett says. “Eventually, he let it grow — this is way back in the 1800s — he let grow and it turned into what he initially named the Hawkeye apple and it was later renamed to the Red Delicious, which most people are familiar with.”
Fett says the event is designed to connect Iowans with history and help them understand how apples are still produced in Iowa today. “We’ll have hands-on learning stations,” Fett says. “The Madison County Historical Society will have more information on farmer Jesse Hiatt. We will be talking about pollination, grafting of apple trees, propagation, we’ll have tours of the orchard and, we’re located at the Winterset Cidery so you’ll have a chance to tour the cidery.”
While there’s a large apple orchard there, don’t expect to see any apples on the trees yet. “I have been told that they are full of apple blossoms,” Fett says, “so they’ll look to harvest the apple crop later in August and September, but right now, the trees are absolutely beautiful and blossomed out.” The event will take place Sunday from 1 to 5 P.M. at the Winterset Cidery just north of Winterset, along the famed Covered Bridges of Madison County trail.
Learn more at http://www.iowaagliteracy.org