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Orchards mark the start of fall

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014 9:38 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014 9:40 a.m. CDT
(Katrina J.E. Milton – kmilton@)
Early apple varieties, such Galas, are ready to be picked.
(Katrina J.E. Milton – kmilton@)
Brothers Connor Lewis, 5, (right) and Carson Lewis, 7, of Rochelle, use old-fashioned water pumps to race rubber ducks at Jonamac Orchard last week.
(Katrina J.E. Milton – kmilton@)
The goats at Jonamac's new petting zoo are ready for some affection.

MALTA – September is orchard season.

Jonamac Orchard in Malta opened last week, and Honey Hill Orchard in Waterman opened with limited hours this week. Jonamac is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily until Nov. 27. Honey Hill is open from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Thursday and Saturday of this week, and 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily Sept. 8 through Oct. 31.

Jonamac added a petting zoo this year, and partnered with Prairie State Winery in Genoa to make five different apple wines using last season’s apple cider. The kitchen was expanded to add a new donut machine twice the size of the old one.

Shauna Lewis from Rochelle often brings her two sons to the orchard during the fall.

“I bring them to the play area at the orchard to give them something different to do,” Lewis said. “We will definitely be back to pick apples. It’s a family tradition.”

Early apples are ready to be picked, but Jonamac manager Jenna Spychal said there will be a late apple crop due to the cool summer. Honey Hill also has you-pick raspberries. Other crops, like pumpkins, will be available later this fall.

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