This Pennsylvania farm family tends its orchard with love and joy.
Our cider mill and country shop have been open for business for 11 years. Over time, they have grown and become something we never dreamed they would. We have 500 apple trees, 56 peach trees, a gift shop, a cider mill and an animal barn. We also make and sell about 1,000 apple pies and a couple of thousand apple turnovers during September and October. While there is much work to do all year, fall is our busiest season. We invite you to experience a little taste of what life is like at an apple orchard.
Opening Day Is Here!
SEPT. 1 It’s opening day for the 2016 fall season! Joe hung “open” signs while I headed to the ciderhouse kitchen to bake pies and turnovers that were assembled and frozen in August. This month and next, people will buy fresh baked goods from our shop and frozen pies to bake at home.
Things can get pretty crazy here between dealing with customers and taking care of our five kids. My mom, Bonnie, and Joe’s mom, Helen, help out, as well as another gal, Marie. Today we dipped caramel apples and made muffins, pumpkin bread and cheesecakes. Joe and Sawyer bagged apples, then headed to the orchard to pick a bin (about 20 bushels or 800 pounds) of Ginger Gold apples. They also separated cider apples from apples to sell in the shop. After supper, Joe and his brother picked more apples while I bathed Wesly and then put him to bed.
SEPT. 2 The first days of the season always feel like a reunion when we visit with customers we haven’t seen for a year. The fellas sorted and picked apples while we gals worked in the kitchen. Mom and Larynn ran the register. Taking money and giving change is the best math class for my kids.
SEPT. 3 Today our fresh apple pies seemed to fly out the door. I think that’s because we bake them in the stone cider house behind the shop; the smell draws people in. After supper, Joe went back to the cider house to tear down our apple washer. We replaced the brushes this summer, but the new ones were so stiff they bruised the fruit. We need to install the new soft brushes while we’re closed. This will be a big job; we pray for it to go smoothly.
SEPT. 4 Our orchard is closed on Sundays and Mondays for worship and family time. I headed to First Baptist Church in Grove City with three of the kids while Joe and two boys stayed home to work on the washer. Thankfully they finished it by late afternoon. It runs great! We all sat down for a late supper and then watched a movie—one of our favorite family times.
SEPT. 5 Today is Labor Day, so Joe didn’t have to work at General Electric in Grove City. He saves all the vacation he can for our busy fall season. The fellas picked and sorted apples and mowed grass. For most of the day, I cleaned the house and did laundry—an ongoing job with a family of seven. Since we weren’t open, I had time to fix pulled pork (from our own hogs) and macaroni and cheese. We enjoy our open season, but days off are special because of the family time.
SEPT. 6 Mom, Helen and Marie helped me run the shop, bake and bag apples until 2:30, when Joe got home from work. Then he and Sawyer headed to the orchard to pick apples. Clay and Wayde did a lot of digging in our dirt pile. After a dinner of leftovers, the fellas and Larynn picked more apples while I made two batches of jar candles.
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