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West Fargo launches 'Community Orchards' project

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WEST FARGO—Free Honeycrisp apples will soon be a reality in a handful of West Fargo neighborhoods, as the city launches its "Community Orchards" project.

Trees have been planted now, and soon homeowners can walk to the orchards and load up on apples, plums, cherries and more.

At 93, Otto Olsgaard of West Fargo is thrilled to see a fruit tree forest beginning to grow right across from his home.

"I think it is great, it is wonderful," said Olsgaard.

In a city owned vacant lot, forestry crews have planted more than a dozen fruit trees here near the river on Francis Street and one other neighborhood.

"These are smaller and these are in smaller communities, so people can come and harvest for a snack or harvest a bucket full for applesauce or pies," said Chad Zander, West Fargo Project Coordinator.

These fruit trees are new, so they won't bear fruit for two to four years, but that is okay with Otto.

"That is the sad part of course, because of my age, I won't see it, but that is okay, but someone will enjoy it," said Olsgaard.

For Otto and his neighbors, it's one more luxury about living in a big small town.

"I won't be here but maybe the next family will have youngsters who knows, and they can pick some apples, and plums and cherries, yeah, it will work out well," said Olsgaard.

The City of West Fargo says if these are successful, there will likely be more attempts to have community orchards on city owned empty lots.