80% of Watertown, Minn. apple orchard crop shredded in storm

Watertown, Minnesota was among the areas hardest hit by Friday night’s storms, and Luceline Orchard on Rose Avenue proves it.

“I heard a whistle through the house,” owner Terri Traen said, who’s also a morning show host on KQRS.

The area was hit by 110 mile-an-hour winds, and the orchard lost so much more than electricity, they lost about 80 percent of their apple crop, which means they won’t be able to wholesale like they’ve done in the past.

 “We were told that it ended on us and it ripped through our orchard,” general manager Abby Pawelk said. 

The storm wiped out 6,000 of their 10,000 apple trees, which Traen first planted in 2007.

 “It takes 5 years to get a good crop on apples and they had the best crop ever those last trees,” she said.

 Just a few buckets of the unripe fruit remain and only a fraction of applewood piles, but the orchard will still be open come August.

“It’s heartbreaking because it’s years, and years, and years of work that we put into it and we can’t replace it. The insurance to replace the trees is too expensive,” Pawelk said.

 Traen maintains they’ll replant again, but that’s still another 5 years before a bountiful crop could match the one they had before Friday.

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