Making an Orchard Work in Iowa

Thursday, July 11 | 2 – 5 p.m. | Solon, IA

Paul rasch wilsonsBeginning with the cider apples, Paul will discuss his approach to managing these unique varieties in a dwarf system, including the importance of managing to prevent fire blight. After the group caravans to the main orchard location, Paul will lead an orchard walk and further discuss varieties, orchard care, and managing a U-pick operation. The group will then tour the cidery and event center, and have a chance to enjoy samples.

HOSTS: Paul Rasch and Sarah Goering | Wilson’s Orchard |


Paul Rasch and Sara Goering took ownership of Wilson’s Orchard north of Iowa City in 2009. The orchard was established in 1982 and operates as a U-pick with over 120 varieties to choose from, a bakery and a retail store. In 2017, Paula and Sara added Rapid Creek Cidery, an event center and farm-to-table restaurant. Paul began crafting hard cider in September 2015 and produces seven styles of hard cider that can be found across the state. In 2016, he and Sara planted 5 acres of cider-specific apple varieties at their second orchard site.


  • Cider-specific apple variety production
  • Dwarfing rootstocks
  • Equipment for orchard management
  • U-pick with dwarf and semi-dwarf trees
  • On-farm sales
  • Hard cider production


LOCATION: 1998 Poplar Ave. NE Solon 52333


Note: The field day will begin at the newly-planted cider-variety orchard. Half-way through the field day, we will caravan to Wilson’s Orchard (Dingleberry Road) for the second portion of the field day.

From IA Hwy 1 in Solon: Turn west onto 180th Street NE / 5th Street. After 2.3 miles, keep left at the fork as the road bends to the south and becomes Mehaffey Bridge Road NE. Continue on this for 1.2 miles, turn left (east) onto 200th Street and go 1 mile to the T-intersection with Poplar Avenue NE; the orchard and a grey pole barn with red roof will be visible across the road. Take the left fork leading up to the T-intersection, but immediately turn right into the driveway nearest the packing shed.


Light refreshments will follow the field day.

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