Class in the orchard
Kindergarten students in the Triton schools got a first hand look at fall’s produce last week as they headed to Dave Hanson’s apple orchard in Dodge Center.
The students, two classes at a time, boarded the school bus last Friday for the short ride to the orchard. There, Hanson explained he raises apples and squash on his hobby farm. More than a hundred years ago, he explained, the farm started out as a dairy farm. He pointed out the 100-year-old barn and the buildings that had served as the milk house and pig barn.
He also explained that the hobby farm is something he does now for fun after having been a teacher and county agent in Dodge Center.
From there, the group moved on to the squash patch where he showed them the variety of squashes that he grew, including the crooked necked squash that he pointed out looked a lot like a goose. Other varieties he showed the youngsters were butternut, buttercup and acorn. Each class was also given one of the strange looking squashes that resembled geese to take back to their classroom.
And before long it was on to the orchard itself where Hanson explained the varieties of apples that he grew.
While the students enjoyed the explanations it was hard for them to control their excitement as they waited for the chance to do what they most wanted – pick apples.
The chance came soon enough as Hanson told them on which trees the apples were ready to pick and how they could each pick one apple to put in the bag their teacher had. Any apples that they did not want to keep because they had spots or “scabs” could be placed in a bucket. These apples, Hanson said, where perfectly OK to eat and the mark was only a blemish.
With the apple picking completed they headed to Hanson’s Apple Barn where packaged apples are available for purchase.
After walking through the Apple Barn, it was time to pose for pictures in front of the smiling face on the barn, collect the bag of apples Hanson gave to each teacher and head back to the school.