Community Orchard began in the early 1940s when a local medical doctor and his wife bought the current farm. Originally it was operated as a dairy. Dr. Paul Otto and his wife Edna were friends of a professor of horticulture at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Otto invited his professor friend to come down and visit them at their newly purchased dairy farm.
During their visit, they talked about planting a few different varieties of apples to see what might grow in Iowa….after a few years the trees began to produce and the good doctor gave his apples away to his patients. He started getting knocks on the door from local people wanting to buy some of his apples. The next fall they sold their apples underneath a tree from a farm trailer opening the gate at 1:00 p.m. to find cars eagerly lined up hoping to buy apples. The customers would run back to the wagon and within 30 minutes the doctor would sell out of produce and be forced to turn away many customers.
After some time they decided to continue to plant trees. In 1952, the dairy barn was turned into an apple barn and in 1962 they advertised for a full time hired man to help with the orchard. This man was my father-in-law. Greg and I were married in 1970 and 1971 was my first season working at the orchard. In 1981 we became 50% owners and in 1990 we purchased Greg’s parents half. Greg, the little pumpkin boy working for his parents, began growing pumpkins at the age of 8.
This season will be our 40th year owning the Community Orchard. Make sure to visit and help us to celebrate 40 Years of Growing!