November 7, 2003
'An apple a day' popular at residence halls
by Ed Adcock, Ag communications
Chieftain apples, developed at Iowa State, are picked near Gilbert to be
served in numerous dining venues on campus. Photo by Grant
Residence hall students are eating up an Iowa State University
Apples developed by Iowa State horticulture professor Spencer Beach have
become a favorite of residence hall students. In 1917, he crossed Jonathan
and Delicious varieties and came up with what some consider the best of
both: a very good eating apple that also stands up to cooking -- the
About 250 bushels of the Chieftain variety grown at the Horticulture Station
near Gilbert are being served in the dining halls, Hawthorne Market and Cafe
and C stores on campus, as well as Hazel's Kitchen at Reiman
"We've had all positive comments," said Jamie Lenz, interim food stores
manager. "The apples have a much better flavor than the Red Delicious."
(Usually Red Delicious apples from Washington State would be available to
students at this time of year.)
Signs tell about the Chieftain apples' origin and Iowa State connection,
something Lenz has heard students comment about. The students are eating 25
to 30 bushels of the apples a week, so they might last through the end of
This fall was the first time the apples were offered to ISU Dining, said
Mark Honeyman, coordinator of the Iowa State Research and Demonstration
Farms. The office recently began managing the Hort Station after a
reorganization of Iowa State's research farm operations around Ames.
"We're trying to be innovative," Honeyman said. Proceeds from the sale will
pay for supplies at the Hort Station.
The labor-intensive task of picking the apples was handled by prisoners from
the Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville. Sorting and packing
the apples was a team effort by the Research and Demonstration Farms campus
staff, the Hort Station crew and students who are members of the
The club buys apples from the station and has sold them at Reiman Gardens as
a fund-raiser. The club gets a reduced price in return for members' help in
sorting and packing. The rest of the apples grown at the Hort Station, about
45 varieties in all, are sold to commercial orchards in the area.
The station's Chieftain apple orchard is the most mature, but Macintosh,
Jonathan, Gala, and Red and Yellow Delicious also are represented, said Will
Emley, station superintendent. Emley hasn't figured up this year's yield
yet; last year about 1,800 bushels of apples were harvested. Apple research
at the station mainly consists of disease resistance trials and tests of how
different varieties adapt to Iowa's climate.
Station apples also have found their way into dishes served at the Joan Bice
Underwood Tearoom. Freeman Moser, Tearoom coordinator, said the menu soon
will include a baked apple with a ginger hard sauce and homemade apple
Providing apples to campus units is mutually beneficial, Honeyman said, and
he hopes it will be a long-term relationship.
Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
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