• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 19s

Harvesting Alaska: Apple farmer goes out on a limb to give to others

By Shannon Ballard Photojournalist: Carolyn Hall - 12:35 PM September 12, 2016

There’s just something about a crisp autumn morning. In his Wasilla backyard, Dan Elliott can taste the changing season in any of the 120 types of apples harvested on his property. Some might call him an expert.

“It’s hard when you ask for a favorite to come up with less than 10,” Elliott said.

Elliott started with 16 apple trees, but that number soon grew to more than 150; almost every one of his trees is of a different variety.

Elliott’s wife, Marian, says apples are her husband’s passion, both a hobby and a challenge.

“We pretty much ran out of space, so now what he does is when he finds a new apple, he just grafts it to one of the trees that is already here,” Marian Elliott said.

If you look closely while walking through his orchard, it’s not difficult to spot trees with as many as three varieties of apples, branched off of a single trunk.

“Here’s a tree where I didn’t like the variety — red sparkle — so I grafted some branches,” Dan Elliott said.

The Elliotts can only eat so many apples, so these days they go out on a limb to give to others.

“It seems serendipitous that we should help him out and be able to use his apples,” Dewey Taylor, board president of Valley Community for Recycling Solutions (VCRS) said.

Volunteers with VCRS collect Dan Elliott’s apples to press into cider for their annual fall fundraiser.

“I’m getting my exercise, my upper arm exercise, today turning the crank and the apple juice is beyond compare,” volunteer Rose Smith said.

The cider apples have slight imperfections and would otherwise end up in the compost. To get the flavor just right, the volunteers mix the juice from multiple varieties — and it can take a few tries.

Despite three decades of sampling and testing, Dan Elliott says he never gets sick of the fruit.

When we asked why apples? His response was simple: “Well because they taste good.”

But his wife says it’s more complex than that.

“As to why he is a person who likes to grow things, maybe it’s in his DNA,” she said.

You can try some of Dan Elliott’s apple cider at the annual Harvest Recycle Fest. The event will take place on Sept. 30 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. and all the money at the fundraiser supports VCRS.

KTVA 11′s Shannon Ballard can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Alcohol suspected in serious Seward Highway crash

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 28, 16:06

    The Seward Highway was completely closed in both directions for about five hours overnight following a crash at mile 76 near Portage Glacier Road. The crash occurred sometime just before 11 p.m. and the road finally reopened to traffic around 4 a.m. Anchorage Police say a northbound BMW crossed over into the oncoming traffic late […]

  • News

    1 dead in head-on Glenn Highway collision

    by KTVA Web Staff on May 28, 15:59

    The Anchorage Police Department’s Traffic Unit is trying to determine what caused an SUV to lose control and cause a fatal crash Saturday. About 15 minutes after midnight Saturday morning, APD says a Chevy Suburban inbound on the Glenn Highway lost control, crossed the center median and struck a Ford Focus head-on. The driver of […]

  • News

    Pedestrian struck, killed on Gambell

    by KTVA Web Staff on May 28, 15:54

    Anchorage Police are investigating a fatal crash involving a pedestrian. Just before 3 a.m. Saturday, a late model Chevy Malibu traveling southbound on Gambell Street struck a pedestrian. Police say the pedestrian, who has not yet been identified, was in the roadway outside of a crosswalk when he was hit. The man was taken to […]

  • Politics

    On first day back, Trump lashes out at ‘fake news media’

    by CBS News on May 28, 14:44

    WASHINGTON — Hours after returning from his first trip abroad as president, President Trump tweeted Sunday morning about “fake news media” and White House leaks. “It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media,” Mr. Trump said in a series […]

  • News

    US official mulling greatly expanding airplane laptop ban

    by Associated Press on May 28, 11:30

    WASHINGTON (AP) – Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly says he’s considering banning laptops from the passenger cabins of all international flights to and from the United States. That would dramatically expand a ban announced in March that affects about 50 flights per day from 10 cities, mostly in the Middle East. The current ban was […]

  • News

    Feds: Man jumps from plane after trying to bite attendant

    by Associated Press on May 28, 11:27

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A 22-year-old man jumped out of an airplane waiting to take off in North Carolina and had to be stopped from running onto the runway. A federal air marshal said in a sworn statement that 22-year-old Tun Sein was flying from Charlotte to New Bern on Thursday when he stood after […]

  • Lifestyle

    ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ tops box office, ‘Baywatch’ sinks

    by Associated Press on May 28, 10:54

    LOS ANGELES (AP) – It was smooth sailing to the top spot at the box office for “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” but the waters were choppier for the Dwayne Johnson comedy “Baywatch.” Studio estimates on Sunday say the fifth installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise commandeered $62.2 million […]

  • News

    Jet owned by Elvis sold for $430,000 at auction

    by Associated Press on May 27, 19:09

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – A private jet once owned by Elvis Presley has been auctioned after sitting on a runway in New Mexico for 35 years. GWS Auctions Inc. says the plane sold for $430,000 on Saturday at a California event featuring celebrity memorabilia. The auction house says Elvis designed the interior that has gold-tone […]