By Raetta Holdman

DENVER (CBS4) – Fall means it’s apple harvesting in season and one family in Hotchkiss is sending its crop across the state.

Sarah Tuft describes herself as the quintessential girl who grew up on an apple farm.

“My dad has been an organic apple farmer for 40-plus years,” Tuft said.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

While the family has made apple products for years, it all changed about nine years ago.

“We had a family member who came home from school with her after-school snack that was given to her by the school but it was all sugar and food coloring,” Tuft recounted. “She made the comment, ‘You guys can make something better than that.’

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“That was kind of a light bulb moment for us that we could, and we teamed up with the Farm to School program and started providing them with applesauces and our juices and our fresh apples. It became such a big hit that we finally launched retail and just last year we had enough fresh packed apples to make it available to consumers.”

That hit is now Wacky Apples.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“The cool thing is we are picking the apples fresh and are sending them straight to supermarkets and school kids,” Tuft said.

But Tuft explained being a fruit farmer carries its own set of challenges.

“We are up against a lot of things. In the spring, specifically, frost and snow. As we all know here in Colorado, the weather can be a little irregular. So when it freezes, if it gets cold, we lose the flower. And then we also have years where we’re up against drought or the fact that the honey bees are becoming more and more scarce that pollinate the trees to make apples, so the flowers turn into fruit.”

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

But this year, all those flowers did turn into fruit and you can find those Wacky Apples in Whole Foods, King Soopers and City Markets.

LINK: Wacky Apple Co.

Raetta Holdman is a veteran newscast producer. She’s been with CBS4 for more than 25 years, coordinating events — large and small — from the control room. Contact her by clicking here.


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