MADISON, Wis. — Joining the crisp Fall air this time of year are ripe crisp fall apples. In most Wisconsin counties, there are orchards for people to visit and pick their own apples.

Alice in Dairyland — a public figure selected yearly by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture to promote Wisconsin farm products — took people on a tour of Sutters Fidge Farm in Mount Horeb on Wednesday. She specifically took people on a tour of the apple orchard, and the tour was virtual. 

“I think it's cool to just kind of bring people where you are in the moment because I think that's the way people interact the best,” said Julia Nunes, this year's Alice in Dairyland.

In the fall and this week, apples are a featured Wisconsin commodity.

“It was really fun to get out and tour a Wisconsin apple orchard because there is so much to offer an apple orchard,” Nunes said. “Not just picking apples, but there are so many different fun fall activities that people can get out and do while seeing where the food grows and pick some fresh Wisconsin apples.”

Thursday is a big day for Wisconsin and Midwest apples. It's the Great Midwest Apple Crunch.

Last year more than 1.8 million people participated in the Great Midwest Apple Crunch.

“The premise is really, really simple,” said Vanessa Herald, Senior Farm to Institution Outreach Specialist at UW-Madison. “Schools and other institutions that do cafeteria or food service purchase local apples and kiddos crunch into them at the same time as our way of celebrating farm to school, supporting our local farmers, nutritious food in our classroom and foodservice.”

Herald helps run the Apple Crunch through her role with UW-Madison. This year the Apple Crunch will look different. Many schools are virtual or online/in-person hybrid.

“More than anything we're just excited to see how people get to be creative and share their crunches,” Herald said.

So far almost 700,000 people have signed up to be a part of the Apple Crunch. Anyone can join by just posting a photo or video of their crunch.

Apple Orchards this time of year — and particularly during the pandemic —are a good thing to promote Nunes and Herald said.

“For people who want to go have a family adventure, going to an apple orchard or some kind of agri-tourism place really is a great thing to do, safer to be outside, you can still wear a mask and do activities,” Herald said.

And as Alice in Diaryland will tell you, farmers are looking forward to sharing their work.

“Because a lot those farmers have been working really hard the whole year to produce these high-quality products for people around Wisconsin,” Nunes said. “So it's a great time to support your local businesses and communities here in Wisconsin.”