An apple industry is slowly growing across Southeast Minnesota
ELGIN — Wander through your local grocery store and, chances are, you’ll see the fruit of Fred Wescott’s labors.
More specifically, apples every day of the year.
Despite Minnesota’s short, cold apple growing season, Wescott has helped build a year-round wholesale apple supply business that brings locally grown apples to your grocer most months a year. He also supplements with contract growers in South America, ships in apples from his orchards across North America and even stores apples in huge climate- and atmosphere-controlled store rooms.
The goal: Build a reliable wholesale supply chain for retailers that allows you to buy local apples almost every day of the year and keep the proverbial doctor away.
Wescott is one part of the two sides of the local apple growing industry. The other is the farm-to-market retailers who grow and sell, often at their own orchard or farmers markets, such as Fred Kappauf, owner of Sekapp Orchard just west of Rochester.
Sekapp Orchard has been a pectin fixture on the fringe of Rochester for more than 50 years, bringing customers from near and far to wander its rows of trees and enjoy the fruits of their own labors: fresh-picked apples.