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Despite tough weather, Shimanski apple orchard growing for tomorrow

Ron Shimanski has planted himself in the Silver Lake community. He not only lives in and represents the city of Silver Lake on the McLeod County Board, but he owns and operates an apple orchard close to home.
Shimanski plans to eventually transition his orchard into a visitor-friendly attraction, but for now, he doesn’t see it in the business plan. He’ll continue to harvest apples mainly to sell at farmers markets near the Twin Cities, which has a higher demand than rural areas like Silver Lake.
Shimanski said he likes to stay on top of the trends in apple varieties to bring to markets. He recently planted apple trees that will produce “First Kiss” apples, a University of Minnesota creation that was grafted only a few years ago.
He harvests around 20 varieties of apples: Honeycrisp, Haralsons, Regents, Firesides, SweeTango and more. He said he likes to get his orchard going earlier than most so there’s a wider selection of early varieties like Oriole and Paula Red apples.

(For the complete story, see the Sept. 25 print edition of The Chronicle.)