The 51st Bayfield AppleFest that Almost Wasn't?

By KBJR News 1

October 1, 2012 Updated Oct 1, 2012 at 6:11 PM CDT

Bayfield, WI (Northland's NewsCenter) - When people think Bayfield—especially in the fall—it's hard not to see images of apples in all shapes, sizes, colors and forms flash in your mind. After all, what would the 51st Bayfield AppleFest be without apple pie?

"Apple pies and ice cream—what more could you ask for," exclaimed a very excited Roy Halverson, who has been attending Applefest for decades.

But, all the apples have to come from somewhere.

Up on the near half–century old, family–owned Rabideaux's Orchard—one of Bayfield's many orchards that make it happen—Allen Rabideaux admits it's been a relatively stressful growing season.

Overall apple numbers are down; a hot spring, followed by a cold snap, did its damage.

"Everything got up in the 70s and 80s for the whole month [of April]. It got the tress going, and they all bloomed at one time. Then, the temperature dropped on us. I would say we probably lost 35% of what we usually have," said Rabideaux.

For farmers further south, like those in Eau Claire, Rabideaux says the extreme weather was a fatal blow: "The orchards down there haven't got nothing—not a thing—just wiped out."

But he says the regions topography—in the end—was its saving grace, and Bayfield was able to get just enough rain and cold, crisp nights to give the apples that snap with every bite.

"There will be plenty of apples for Applefest," said Rabideaux, standing in front of hundreds of bushels of fresh-picked apples.

Good news for everyone, because a Bayfield without an AppleFest is one thing, but a Bayfield without apples?

That's just ridiculous...

Rabideaux says he's particularly pleased with the way his hundreds of bushels of honey–crisp apples turned out for this year's AppleFest.
So far, they've been the top demand.