KATE HEMINGWAY News Assistant Ron Shimanski stepped down from the McLeod County Board of Commissioners in January, ending his 15-year career in politics at the state and county levels. Since then, his attention has turned fully to- ward his orchard. The orchard in Silver Lake was originally estab- lished in 1984. Shimanski bought the orchard in 2003 after working for the previous owner for ve years. “So I jumped in knowing what I was getting into,” he said. Now dubbed Shimanski Orchard, the nearly 1,400 trees grow apples, pears, and plums. Shimanski grows several varieties of Asian Pears. “We’re prob- ably one of the only growers in Minnesota producing Asian Pears,” he said, pointing out the rows of pear trees dotted with small green fruit. Of course, there are many varieties of apples. “I used to say 20, but I think we’ve expanded since then,” Shimanski joked. He has two rows of saplings that will eventually produce Triumph, the newest ap- ple variety from the University of Minnesota released just last year. It will be a few years until Triumph ap- ples will actually grow, but that is part of the fun with apples. “You’ve got to know what you want a year or two ahead of time,” Shimanski said. Varieties like Regent, Honeycrisp, Sweet Tango, and First Kiss were also developed in Minnesota and grow on Shimanski’s orchard. The Haralson was patented in 1922. “There’s still a high demand for a 100-year-old variety,” he said. “Tastes change, but some want to have that tradition that they grew up with.” “Especially Haralsons. They’re typically not ready until late September, early October. We’ll start taking them to farmers markets in early September when they’re still fairly green. Customers will say, ‘Oh! I ate green apples when I was a kid. This is the avor I’ve been looking for!’” Shimanski brings his fruit to four farmers markets in the area: Minnetonka, Maple Grove, Hopkins, and Minneapolis. This keeps him in the market four days a week, and the remaining three days are spent work- ing on the orchard. It is a full-time job, one he has been doing for years alongside other work. Balancing full-time work When Shimanski rst bought the orchard, he was working fulltime at Litt n Lumber Co. in Winsted. Annandale | Buffalo | Cokato | Darwin | Dassel | Delano | Glencoe | Howard Lake | Hutchinson | Kimball | Lester Prairie Litch eld | Loretto | Maple Lake | Maple Plain | Mayer | Montrose | Mound | New Germany | Norwood Young America Rockford | Silver Lake | South Haven | St. Bonifacius | Waconia | Watertown | Waverly | Winsted Senior Con n e c t ion s is distributed to: July/August 2021 VOLUME 3 | NO. 4 Senior Con n e ct ion s HJ.COM More SHIMANSKI on Pg 2 Retired from politics, Shimanski transitions to orchard fulltime Former State Representative and McLeod County Commissioner Ron Shimanski now operates Shimanski Orchard full-time in his retirement. He has owned the orchard since 2003. PHOTO BY KATE HEMINGWAY