Volunteers Pick Apples for Northern Lakes Food Bank

Bayfield Apple Trees are Still Full and Erickson Orchards Is Donating Their Extra Apples

BAYFIELD, Wis. – Apple Fest has come and gone, but now it’s apple overload. Trees are still full.

One orchard is finding a way to help out families in need with the extra apples.

Each year, the apple harvest brings thousands to Bayfield.

“Well, they are literally falling off the tree,” said Gene Lemmenes while picking apples. “It’s almost a matter of touching them at times and they will release into your hands.”

2017 was a fantastic growing season.

“Filled one of these already and I think I promised myself I’ll keep going with this one until it’s full and then I’ll probably call it quits so, another hour maybe,” said Lemmenes.

But a week after Apple Fest, these trees are still filled with apples and, as a way to give back, volunteers are picking them to donate to Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank.

“I don’t want to see them go in the ground, so I invited Second Harvest to come down and pick a couple hundred bushels and supply the need,” said Fred Erickson, owner and operator of Erickson Orchards in Bayfield.

Each bushel is forty pounds of apples, so the donation from Erickson Orchards will go a long way in feeding Northland families.

“For whatever reason, people are occasionally in need and here we have this beautiful crop that, to some degree that is not picked will go to waste and, through the generosity of the owners, we have the perfect opportunity to solve these issues,” said Lemmenes, who was donating his time to pick apples.

More pickers are needed for the food bank to get as many apples as possible.

“I don’t like to see apples go to waste,” said Erickson. “I would just as soon people get them rather than deer apples or animals eat them.”

Volunteers will be picking again all day Tuesday.

“Apples are beautiful, it’s fun to pick,” said Lemmenes. “I do every once in a while take a bite. That’s not the primary reason I’m here though.”

They’re helping their community one bushel at a time.

“We in the North are privileged to live in a beautiful place and we have obligations to keep it that way,” said Lemmenes. Part of the obligation is to other people who live here, so it’s just a natural.”

If you want to pick apples for Second Harvest, just show up at Erickson Orchards tomorrow or Tuesday and say you’re there to volunteer.

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