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60-Year-Old Family Orchard Business
“At first glance, people can’t pronounce our business name,” says Shella Czipar, “but once they taste our apples, eat our homemade apple donuts, or have a caramel apple, they never forget it.” (It’s pronounced zy-pars.)
Shella and her husband, Steve, are 3rd generation owners of Czipar’s Orchard just south of Dubuque, Iowa. A family business for 60 years, the Czipars bought the business from Steve’s father and mother, Dick and Joan, who ran it for 49 years after buying it from Dick’s grandfather and grandmother.
“The 10-acre orchard with 1,500 trees producing 25 varieties of apples and a variety of pears has been a constant, but we always try to add new things to keep people coming back or attract attention for those passing by on the highway,” Shella says. Some of the most recent head turners are the likeness of a horse made from oversized pumpkins pulling a two-wheel buggy driven by a scarecrow driver sporting a pumpkin head. There’s also an antique lawn tractor pulling a wagon train of carts filled with pumpkins and flowers and a full-size replica of a quarter horse pulling a four-wheeled cart.
“We like to make the shopping experience fun for people of all ages, especially the kids,” Shella says. “That’s why this year’s addition is a giant multi-colored metal dinosaur. People who shop with us tell their friends and that attracts more customers.”
Apples and pears that grow in their 10-acre orchard that overlooks the Mississippi River have rich color and flavor. The Czipars use their produce to sell whole apples, pears, cider, preserves, and now their superb caramel apples and apple cider donuts.
“We’ve had people tell us these are the best-tasting donuts they’ve ever had, and they’ve been eating donuts for 50 years,” Shella says. “It’s a family recipe made using 100 percent apple cider and other ingredients, nothing imitation,” Shella adds. “We also produce our own secret-recipe caramel, which, unlike most caramels on the market, doesn’t stick to your teeth when you eat it.” Apple pies, turnovers, cashew crunch and other homemade products round out their product offerings, supplemented by locally-produced honey, maple syrup, homemade wines, colorful pumpkins and squash.
Dick and Joan Czipar help with the family business along with Steve and Shella’s two children, their spouses and grandkids. Shella says every weekend during late August, September and October is filled with plenty of work and a lot of fun meeting regular customers and new people, “but we wouldn’t have it any other way.” The last weekend in September, they host an Apple Festival with food, games, craft vendors, and activities for people of all ages which attracts even more attention.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Czipar’s Orchard, 8610 Rte. 52 South, Dubuque, Iowa 52003 (ph 563-582-7476; Cziparsorchards@gmail.com).

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2022 - Volume #46, Issue #6