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Preston Apple & Berry Farm expecting larger crop this year


Fri, Sep 13th, 2013
Posted in Preston Features

Owners Carol and Joe Gosi show two pies just taken out of the oven at the Preston Apple & Berry Farm. Photo by Barb Jeffers

By Barb Jeffers

Hopes are high for a more bountiful crop this year at the Preston Apple & Berry Farm after several years of lower harvest amounts. Owners Joe and Carol Gosi state that this year’s crop looks better as long as rain and cooler weather come soon. Joe says that right now they can’t get color on the apples and if rain and/or cooler temperatures do not arrive soon, the fruit will begin to suffer.

Joe and Carol opened the Preston Apple & Berry Farm in 1985 which means they have been picking apples for 28 years and show no signs of stopping or even slowing down. The business is open seven days a week from 9a.m. - 6p.m. during the busy time of year. Preston Apple & Berry Farm is open mid-March until Christmas with special products available all year.

The Gosi’s grow 28 different varieties of apples including Whitney, Sunrise, Delicious, and Regent to name just a few that can be found at the Preston Apple & Berry Farm. The growing season this year has “been different from the start” says Joe with snow in late Spring then an overabundance of rain followed by a long dry spell.

Last year the business produced 512 bushels of apples and believe they should have more than that this year. The most popular variety they sell now and since they opened is the Honeycrisp. Joe said that is the variety everyone wants right now commenting, “Everybody wants it before they get ripe.” They are so anxious to sample them and use some for baking and other uses.

Speaking of baking, Joe knows his way around an oven making 10-15 pies a day with an average of 75 or 80 per week. According to Joe the most widely used types of apples for pies are Honeycrisp and Wealthy although he uses many different varieties to make his pies. Joe explained that Wealthy apples are an old variety and originated in Minnesota.

In 1995 a bakery was added where customers can find many treats including caramel apples, bars, cinnamon rolls, cookies, and the biggest seller - turnovers. The Gosi’s also provide free coffee with the purchase of a bakery item which is quite a deal.

Many other items are offered at the Preston Apple & Berry Farm including several types of Jams and Jellies, some of which are made by Amish in Illinois. Watkins products, pancake syrup, horseradish, sorghum, and honey are some other choices available. Since opening the business Joe and Carol have sold popcorn which Joe says is “better than Orville’s” and customers keep coming back for more. As a courtesy the Gosi’s place church cookbooks next to their own cookbooks which are all for sale.

During warm months of the year the Preston Apple & Berry Farm offers bedding plants, strawberry and raspberry plants, seeds, garden supplies, hanging baskets, urns & stands along with all of their other products. From September to October there are Sunday afternoon horse-drawn wagon rides available, and in November and December they offer Christmas trees, poinsettias, wreaths, roping, fruit baskets and fruit boxes. Joe’s delicious pies can be purchased by the pie or by the piece and frozen pies are also available.

Currently available are fresh sweet corn, Michigan blueberries, Illinois peaches, canning tomatoes, and fresh apple cider to name a few of the selections available to customers. Tom and Julia Deutsch of Galesburg, Ill. who were camping in Decorah, Iowa made the drive to the Preston Apple & Berry Farm and picked out some apples and peaches that looked mouth-watering.

Among several recipes and other information in the Apple & Berry Farm’s brochure is some insight to how good apples are for your health It states:

Apples can play an important role in home cookery and nutrition. An average apple contains approximately 85-95 calories and small amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, iron, and manganese. Pectin and fiber aid in intestinal activity (digestion and elimination). Apples also are thirst-quenchers because they contain about 86 percent water. It has been said that one apple may have the thirst slaking capability of half a glass of water.

The address of the Preston Apple & Berry Farm is 645 Hwy. 16 & 52, Preston, Minn. For more information on the Preston Apple & Berry Farm visit the website at www.prestonappleberryfarm.com, phone (507) 765-4486, or stop in personally and say hello to Joe and Carol - they will be happy to see you!

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