The City of Belle Plaine recently took possession of property formerly operated as an apple orchard. The City Council directed staff to research viable options for the property.
The following occurred:
- Cost input and income potential analysis of the City running the orchard as it exists today
- Outreach to other orchard operators regarding interest in leasing the orchard
- Outreach to Minnesota Apple Growers Association for information
- Documentation of varieties, lifespan, and ages of dwarf trees as it relates to potential future productivity
- Inspection of orchard by a certified tree inspector to document existing conditions and ages: dry rot, blight, and fungus were found
- Analysis and inspection of existing irrigation system
- Council met with previous owner
- Council met with potential tree harvester
After research and discussion, the Council has determined harvesting the apple trees for productive use is the best and most economical option due to the health of the trees. After requesting information from potential tree harvesters, at the Monday, February 5th City Council meeting the Council accepted a bid paying the city $14,000.00 for apple wood harvesting. The bid was submitted by Black Swan Wood Products. The Council authorized removal work. The Company is expected to begin harvesting the trees soon. A notice will be released when a date is finalized. The company will retain usable portions of trees and chip remaining products. The Council will have additional discussion on use of chipping material at a later date. The Council specifically noted the remarkable presence of the orchard in the city for decades and has requested additional discussion of potential means for recognizing the past presence of the orchard.