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It's apple festival redo!
CROP dianea
FALL MEANS APPLES AND MORE In the Gays Mills orchards. Diane Mo-ran held a bag of apples and a large gourd at the Hillcrest Orchard earlier this week. Theres still plenty of produce available at Hillcrest and the other orchards. So, dont hesi-tate, nows the time to buy fresh and buy local.

Apple Fest didn’t quite go exactly as planned a couple of weeks ago. The ‘always the last weekend of September’ festival was bumped ahead two weeks and we are all ready for the redo.

The orchards of Gays Mills are ready and open for business.

Terre Van Harren of Hillcrest Orchard seemed to put it appropriately when she spoke with the Independent-Scout this week.

“Usually by now, we’re all breathing a big sigh of relief that all of the craziness is over, but now we’re still waiting for it,” Van Harren.

Like most places around Gays Mills things seem to be just starting to pick up. Hillcrest still has plenty of apples including Honey Crisps, Cortlands, Empires and Snow Sweets, among other late varieties, which may offer a interesting change for individuals who generally come two weeks earlier. Their salesroom will also be stocked with gifts and other produce, as well as apple cider of course.

Kickapoo Orchard on 171 is still in full swing as well.

“We have plenty of apples,” said Kickapoo’s Julie Meyer. “And, the bakery is in full swing!”

Water on Main Street in Gays Mills didn’t seem to slow Kickapoo’s customers down during the original Apple Fest weekend.

“We had people walking around our showroom at 8:01 a.m.,” Meyer confirmed. Although some were able to make it, not all were on the “right side of the river” when the waters rose that Thursday morning. However, Meyer didn’t seem to mind a second Apple Festival.

“We will still have our wine tasting, food booth, and cheese and sausage tasting available for the weekend, just like we had planned originally,” she explained.

West Ridge Orchard will also be in on the fun for our Apple Fest redo. Offering up popular varieties like the Honey Crisp, and interesting heirloom varieties like the Fireside and Ambrosia.

“The Ambrosia apple is just a really good, sweet crispy eating apple,” said West Ridge owner Gaylon O’Neal. “The Fireside is a good keeper, the story that was told to me is it kind of got its name because it kept so well families were able to sit and eat it by the fire side in the winter.”

Pick your own grapes will also be available for West Ridge customers, as well as the kiddy area and corn maze for the youngsters. Oh, and don’t forget the Apple Crisp Doughnuts!

Fleming Orchard is also ready to receive customers.

“It’s been slow, but people are coming out and pick-your-own has been really successful this year,” Jim Fleming explained. The orchard offers many varieties for pick your own or pre-picked apples, as well as a full line of produce, bakery, and other delightful treats in their salesroom. Some of the apples that will be available include the Macs, Cortlands, Granny Smiths, Galas, Jona Macs and more

“It sounds like a decent weekend for everyone to come out and enjoy,” Fleming said..

 Things at Turkey Ridge Organic Orchard seem to be going as good as ever. Owner Faye Welsh will be at the organic orchard to greet customers with a smile and sample of cider. Blended with six different apples, Turkey Ridge Organic Orchard offers a unique, unpasteurized USDA certified organic cider that is hard to beat.  Of course, organic apples and apple-fed pork will also be available, as well as smoking apple chips, garlic and more. It’s always worth the stop to chat with Faye and the gang and learn a little more about the food you’re purchasing.

Things are still humming along at Sunrise Orchard. It’s business as usual for the hilltop hive of activity. Orchardist Ryan Teach noted there will be two additional varieties, Pizzazz and Jona Golds available for hungry customers, as well as all of the other beloved apples and treats. The food stand and other fun will be also on hand for visitors.

Starry Ridge Pick Your Own Orchard is also going to be open for the Apple Fest.

“Things have been going well, everyone is happy that the roads are open and the apples are good!” Starry Ridge owner Bill Reinders said. Many varieties will be available at the pick your own orchard with a whole lot of family fun to boot.

No matter your preference, there’s lots of apple fun still available in the Gays Mills orchards.