Apples are expected to be a fruitful crop in north central Kansas in coming years.
The Depot Market in Courtland, Kansas installed trellises this spring to grow high density apples. The trees are grown close together and supported by tall trellises. At the Courtland orchard, instead of 100 trees to the acre, the Depot Market is growing 1,000 trees.
Apples are always a big draw during fall harvest. The Depot’s retail store is open from mid-June to the end of October. The newly planted orchards are made of varieties that are ready to pick in the fall, so visitors to the farm will be able to pick their own from September through October.
Along with apples, pumpkins are a big focus at the Depot Market. The farm covers 200 acres with the majority of the land dedicated to pumpkins and winter squash.
“We have 20 varieties of pumpkins that we grow – all different colors and shapes of pumpkins,” farm manager Mark Stadler said.
The Depot grows giant pumpkins, mini pumpkins, regular Jack-o-lanterns, and varieties like Cinderella, Australian blue and whites. Last year, they shipped pumpkins to 10 states.
Along with the fall favorites, the Depot grows blackberries, 40 acres of watermelon, zucchini and 10 acres of summer squash. A high tunnel greenhouse produces tomatoes, cucumbers and asparagus, which has been popular since it was added three years ago.
“There are a few asparagus growers around, although not many people in Kansas doing that, and we feel there’s a great market for asparagus,” Stadler said.
Everything is sold through the Depot Market retail store, as well as some whole sale pumpkins, melons, squash and tomatoes that customers re-sell at roadside stands.