During the apple harvest this fall, thousands of people will make their way to Nebraska City to tour the orchards and grab a bag of apples.
But there's another time to take advantage of the many apple trees: right now.
Trees are about to bloom at Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard in Nebraska City, and the orchard is encouraging visitors to take in the apple blossoms. Free hayrack rides through the orchard will be provided, and a 2.5-mile walking trail lets visitors wander through the trees.
General Manager Erik Olson said the orchard has found documentation from the 1930s of as many as 25,000 people coming to the orchard to see the blooms. He said the bloom used to be as important to the community as the AppleJack Festival.
“It's just a nice thing for people to come down and check out,” he said.
Peaches, pears and plums are blooming right now, Olson said, but this spring's cooler weather has delayed the apples. The orchard is holding a contest on its Facebook for guests to guess the date of the apple bloom, which should be in the next week. To monitor the bloom, see the orchard's website at kimmelorchard.org.