It’s been a tough year for apples at Floyd Ott’s orchards.
First, pollination problems cut down the number of apples this year. In fact, Ott had only 20 bushels of apples to sell at the Lawrence Downtown Farmers’ Market. That’s nothing, compared with the 6,000 to 7,000 bushels he harvested last year.
And so, the 84-year-old Ott was distraught last week when he discovered he’d been the victim of theft.
Some of the last ripe Golden Crisp and Fuji apples were stolen off Ott’s trees near Eudora.
“They grew better than anything else I had,” said Ott, who’s worked in orchards since he was a boy.
Ott added that of the 80 varieties of apples grown on his orchard, the Golden Crisps fly off the shelves the fastest — perhaps explaining why they were taken.
An orchard owner since 1982, Ott said that he’s dealt with a fruit-napping situation only once before. Three years ago, someone plucked more than 700 pounds of peaches from his trees.
“We went to pick ’em and nothing there,” he said. “I planted the rows nine across, and they’re all gone.”
Ott’s orchard did produce a successful chestnut crop this year, in addition to other fruit, including pears, apricots, nectarines, plums and cherries.
“I like to watch things grow,” Ott said, laughing.