The impact of rain on fall harvest plans

Rainfall has mixed impact on fall harvest

Depending if you're looking for apples, pumpkins, or fall flowers, the recent rainfall will have either a positive or negative impact on the crop.

After months of drought conditions across most of Minnesota and Wisconsin, a large storm system arrived Thursday night and is bringing some much-needed rain. However, it may also impact harvest plans for farmers and orchards.

This time of year is a busy one for orchards and pumpkin patches as visitors aim to get their fall fix.

While the rain on Friday and Saturday may cause a dip in business this weekend, the overall effects aren’t expected to be too bad.

Charlie Johnson, who owns Whistling Well Farm in Hastings, has been in the orchard business for 40 years. He noted many apples have already been picked and packaged for visitors, so they won’t even have to worry about the rain.

For those that remain on trees, Johnson says the rain could cause some cracking to the tops of Honeycrisp apples.

While the dousing is good news for mums, Johnson says it could have a slight effect on pumpkins that are still waiting to be picked.

“The only thing is sometimes the stems don’t hold up as well if they’re out there too long but no, I think there will still be some really nice pumpkins to pick in a lot of different sizes,” Johnson said.

He added that, like with apples, plenty of pumpkins have already been picked, so anyone going to an orchard or pumpkin patch this weekend shouldn’t have to worry.

While visitors may have to deal with a little mud this weekend, the picking remains open, rain or shine.

As for that rain, Minnesota’s Weather Authority says spotty showers will continue Saturday and totals from this system could be as high as 3 inches in parts of the state. Then, drier weather will arrive for the second half of the weekend and into early next week before another chance of rain arrives.