WINONA LAKE – The Community Apple Orchard in Winona Lake recently received a $4,000 grant from the Kosciusko County Community Foundation.  

The grant will be used for the purchase of a four-wheel utility vehicle, which will be used for the general maintenance of the orchard, hauling dead trees, stumps, prunings, fertilizer, water and tools, according to a news release from the Community Apple Orchard. During the harvest, it will serve to transport the public to more remote locations in the orchard.

Since many of those who come to pick apples are senior citizens, this vehicle will be useful in taking them to the trees that are most productive, stated the release. It will also transport the apples that are picked to the entrance of the orchard where they will be weighed and processed.

The total cost of the utility vehicle is $6,500. The Community Orchard has contributed $1,000, with Grace College adding another $200.  

Donations to cover the remaining $1,300 would be greatly appreciated, stated the release. Contact Charlie Wright at 574-453-7477 or Vince Yoder at 574-527-6883 if you wish to contribute toward the cost of the utility vehicle.

Efforts to maintain and manage the orchard began in 2008. The harvest has varied from season to season with the 2013 season having been the most productive so far. More than 30,000 pounds were harvested that season. The orchard is maintained and managed to provide fresh, quality, chemical-free fruit to the community and is open to the public during the harvest seasons. Apples are also picked and given to food pantries and not-for-profit organizations and institutions.

The Orchard Board, along with volunteers, are currently in the process of planning for the 2023 fruit season.  

Located at the intersection of the Packerton and Pierceton roads, the orchard has 70 blueberry plants and over 300 apple trees. Pruning living branches, removing dead branches and dead trees are the tasks that need to be done before the trees bloom. The orchard is currently looking for volunteers to help with these tasks. The orchard has the tools for pruning and instructions will be provided upon arrival.