Apple Blossom Day

We'll be open on Sunday, May 20 for apple blossoms from 11:00-4:00. It'll be our usual, low key day; bring a picnic if you like.

2018 Wassail

Wassailing is an old and lovely orchard tradition, all about toasting the health of the trees in the coming year. To wassail this year, we invite you out to the orchard on Saturday, January 13 and the festivities go from 3:00 to 6:00.

 Making toast ornaments to hang on the trees

Making toast ornaments to hang on the trees

We'll have our annual toast bar (bring a topping to share if you'd like), lots of cider to drink, and a roaring bonfire. It's a great time to get out and enjoy the orchard and our grounds, so bring your skates for the pond or go for a walk (or ski or snowshoe) in the orchard. At dusk, around 4:30ish, we'll all proceed out to the orchard together to toast the orchard's health for the coming year, which will involve singing, noisemaking, and giving back a bit of cider to the orchard.

Come Wassail with us this year!

Orchard Update, October 28-29

It's our last day of picking before the temperature drops down to 25 tonight and turns the apples left on the trees into applesauce. True, it is late to be picking, but a bumper crop means that we'll take every moment that Mother Nature lets us have. 

In addition to the apple line-up this weekend, we've got Pumpkin Whippersnapper. For the uninitiated, that's pumpkin -- no spice.

 From left to right: Haralson, Northwest Greening, Bonnie Best, Prairie Spy, Ruby Jon, Macoun, Fireside, Honeygold, Honeycrisp, Keepsake

From left to right: Haralson, Northwest Greening, Bonnie Best, Prairie Spy, Ruby Jon, Macoun, Fireside, Honeygold, Honeycrisp, Keepsake

Picking in 32 Degrees and Snow: An Annotated Photograph

We had a bumper crop of apples this year and, thankfully, we had an extended season to harvest them. But Mother Nature put us on notice that today was going to be the end of our apple-picking season.

We keep pretty busy around here, so our time to pick was limited. Mike's mom has been doing a ton of picking for us, but cleaning out the trees was too much for her to do all at once. As it turned out, our big day to pick was freezing cold with snow and wind. These aren't our usual picking conditions and we learned a few obscure tips along the way.

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We went out to pick with regular gloves and within minutes, our fingers were numb. The solution was a layer for warmth underneath a waterproof layer. Dishwashing gloves did the trick.

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The biggest trick was to stay warm, which was tough to do with so much wet snow. We used a total of four picking bags because as we picked snow-covered apples, our picking bags got wet and then made our legs wet. We'd come in with a load of apples, throw our picking bags into the dryer, and take two dry bags out with us again. It worked so well, we started throwing everything in the dryer every time we came back with a new load.

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Once our pants got wet, water accumulated in our boots. Is there anything  more miserable than wet feet?!? Rubber boots weren't quite dry enough, so I pulled out the old, cracked Sorels. Duct tape sealed the cracks, at least for an hour at a time.

Warm underneath, waterproof on top, plus a balaclava for the cold wind at our necks -- plus lots of coffee -- helped us finish the day.  

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