Hometown Farmer: Autumn Grove Orchard

Stephanie and Jason Heger didn't always think they'd be running an orchard.

But after visiting the Sioux City Farmers Market they say they saw a need for more locally grown fruits.

And that's how the Autumn Grove Orchard was born!

"Here we are 1,013 trees later," said Stephanie.

The two, along with family and friends, dug holes and planted the trees over the course of a few days in the Spring of 2012, but getting this particular orchard ready took a little more work than normal.

There's something that sets it apart.

"It's on a trellis and a lot of people do mistake it for a vineyard when they drive by," said Stephanie.

It's called a "tall spindle system." Eventually the trees will grow together, more like a bush.

The system also helps cut down on the wait time.

"You take the branches and wire those down to the trunk below 90 degrees so they produce earlier," said Stephanie.

And so far, it's been working.

In their first year of business, they've gotten around 3,000 apples from the 8 varieties they've planted.

A feat they say could never have been done without taking a risk.

"Jumping in with two feet and just going for it," said Stephanie.

If you're interested in the orchard, you can check out their web site here:

If you know of any farmers you think would be great here on "Proud to be a Hometown Farmer," you can nominate them.

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