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Apple-picking season arrives     Send a link to a friend

[SEPT. 9, 2004]  URBANA -- Apples are ripening in orchards across Illinois, and a trek to a local apple orchard can be a fun and educational family outing, said Ron Wolford, a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator based in Chicago.

Wolford noted there are several interesting facts associated with the fruit.

"There are over 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States and 7,500 worldwide," he said. "China leads the world in apple production. Apples are grown in all 50 states. On average, each American eats around 46 pounds of fresh and processed apple products a year. That's a lot of applesauce!"

Americans, Wolford added, eat about 65 fresh apples each year. Apples are free of fat, sodium and cholesterol. They are also a great source of fiber. One medium apple has about 80 calories.


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When taking a family trip to a local orchard, Wolford recommends observing the following guidelines:

  • Be sure to call ahead to the orchard to confirm hours of operation.
  • Do not bring pets.
  • Ask if containers are available; if not bring your own.
  • Wear grubby clothes and shoes; it may be muddy!
  • Bring along a picnic lunch and camera.
  • Watch out for yellow jackets.
  • Check to see if the apple varieties you prefer are available.
  • Apples are ripe when they detach easily from the tree.
  • Pick apples by twisting them upwards with a rotating motion.
  • Do not pick up apples that are on the ground.
  • Wash apples in soap and water.
  • Store in the refrigerator in perforated plastic bags.

Wolford suggested that people interested in more information about apples and a list of local apple orchards call (773) 233-0476 or check out "Apples & More" at

[University of Illinois news release]

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