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Picking Pumpkins near Ceresco

Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 11:26 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The apples may have been limited due to cold spring weather at Martin’s Hillside Orchard, but the pumpkins are ready for the picking.

We visited the orchard near Ceresco, and talked with owner Alex Martin about his business. “We had a number of people for the apple orchard earlier this month, but most of the apples are picked,” Martin said. The apple crop is limited due to a spring cold snap. “If you think back to spring, around Easter, it got very cold. One night it was around 17 degrees at this location,” Martin said. “The apple trees were just about to bloom at that time. That low temperature killed the blooms, so we had a greatly reduced apple crop.”

Despite a limited supply of apples, there are plenty of pumpkins. “We didn’t plant the pumpkins until late May, so the cold weather didn’t bother them at all,” Martin said. The orchard owners grow a wide variety of pumpkins from “prize winner” pumpkins, to 15 other different varieties, shapes and sizes. “We have Cinderallas, blue ones, white ones, pink ones, and all sorts of gourds,” Martin said.

Pumpkins can last outside your house for about a month or two. “If you want to make a pumpkin last, what you should do is make a Clorox solution,” Martin said. “Take a few tablespoons per gallon of water, get a cloth, and wipe the pumpkin down with that. It sort of disinfects the outside of the pumpkin, and gets rid of surface pathogens. That increases the chances that it won’t spoil.”

Some people at the orchard are picking raspberries. “We grow fall-bearing raspberries,” Martin said. “They start fruiting late August, and continue up into October, depending on when there is a killing frost. This is raspberry season for us.”

Martin’s Hillside Orchard also features a small general store, where you can buy fall food items, drinks and even caramel apples. For a fall adventure, check out this orchard located just a mile or two southwest of Ceresco.

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