Why Honeycrisp apples are so darn expensive

Bryan Etchen, Iowa Orchard

Bryan Etchen, the owner of Iowa Orchard, explains why Honeycrisp apples are expensive, delicious, and why they make experienced growers want to pull out all their hair. We also ask why his orchard looks more like a winery, what local growers DON’T spray on their apples, and he names growers you can visit to pick your own apples. 

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Bryan Etchen, Iowa Orchard

Etchen’s father started Iowa Orchard in the 70s, so his family has been in the Apple industry for a while. It turns out there’s a LOT more that goes into growing apples than you can imagine. For example, he has opted to use a trellis system, which requires training the trees. It’s not common in the USA, but some European countries have had great success. 

The trellis design makes for faster growing and as a side benefit, easier picking for the consumer.

 Everyone loves Honeycrisp apples, but why are they so pricey? According to Etchen, they’re the bane of every grower’s existence. Not only do the apples take 3 to 4 years to produce fruit, everyone wants them, from human consumers to deer, to Japanese beetles. One struggle Iowa Orchard has growing Honeycrisp apples is due to their geographical location. Developed in Minnesota, Honeycrisp thrive farther up North, with lower amounts of sun. Iowa Orchard is working diligently to find the best and most efficient ways to protect the apples, including potentially installing hail nets. 

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If you find yourself at Iowa Orchard, make sure to check out their homemade pies at their Urbandale location. These pies, along with other goodies, are sold all year-round in their bakery. Bryan also sells apples throughout the winter until he runs out, including the coveted Honeycrisp. Bryan and the rest of the orchards in Iowa grow their produce for consumption, not for commercial production and storage, which is why if you have ever had freshly picked apples they taste better. 

Take a virtual stroll down a row at Iowa Orchard.

Take a virtual stroll through Iowa Orchard on a nice sunny Iowa fall day.

Iowa Orchard Info

To learn more about Iowa Orchard’s Apple picking locations in Iowa go to their official website.

Apple picking locations in Iowa

Etchen says there are far too many fantastic growers in Iowa to name, but he rattled off a few that came to mind. Did we miss one? Let us know.

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