From homemade apple dumplings to apple brats, the western Missouri town of Waverly is known for all things apple. So much that Rep. Kurtis Gregory, R-Marshall, is sponsoring a bill that would designate Waverly as the “Apple Capital of Missouri.”

Why does Waverly deserve the designation? For starters, Gregory said that’s where the state apple judging competition is held every year.

“It doesn’t work for the State Fair because not all the apples are ready yet,” he said. “And it’s just natural for it to fit. They already have the self-proclaimed apple capital, so I think it’s time we make it official.”

Then there’s the town’s Apple Jubilee, an event held in September to celebrate the fruits of their labor. According to Gregory, the homemade apple dumplings at a church in Waverly are the star of the show. He said they are so popular that thousands of dumplings are whipped up.

For the apple lovers, the variety of apples grown in Waverly include the following:

“I think the most prominent is Red Delicious, followed probably by Golden Delicious. But there’s a whole plethora,” said Gregory. “Honeycrisp is a fairly new one. I think there’s well over 1,000, 2,000 acres worth of apple orchards there in Lafayette County, Waverly, Lexington, along Highway 24. That’s where you’re going to find them at. So, peaches do start there in late summer, and then apples go through mid to late October early November.”

Gregory hopes that the proposed designation will also help to draw more visitors to the area.

Waverly has some experience with apples. Gregory said the industry goes back to the late 1800s, after the hemp and tobacco industries died off.

“That was predominant in Lafayette County,” he said. “At that point in time, the Battle of Lexington involved hemp bales being rolled up and down the banks as the Confederate and Union soldiers were fighting. But after that was done and over with, that industry stopped and it was primed for apple growing.”

A Missouri House committee is taking a look at his proposal and could vote on the bill soon.

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