My eighth grade teacher, who just happened to have a reputation for being amongst the strictest in school, owned a small apple orchard in northeast Ohio. Each year she would let her students earn “brownie points” by working a day on her farm picking apples. Those of us who were brave enough to labor for our extra credit shouldered our burlap harnesses and set out to the fields to pick our bounty and trek it back to a rustic barn, where the apples would be washed and either sold or pressed into cider and bottled. Even though these extracurricular days were spent dodging bees, enduring the scratched arms which come from stretching for that one perfect piece of fruit just out of reach, and carrying what felt like my own bodyweight in apples, I still to this day carry with me a fondness for picking my own fruit of any variety (refer to my previous post Pick Your Own Memories) and was thrilled to have one of my closest friends and her three-year-old daughter accompany me to my latest local destination.
Apple picking marks the end of summer, the start of a new school year, and one of the prettiest times to explore Central Ohio. I was excited to hear about a less-commercialized husband and wife owned u-pick apple orchard just a few minutes northwest of Columbus, near Marysville. The sixty-seven acres that make up CherryHawk Farm were purchased by the current owners, Steve and Wendy, in the fall of 1993. They started by planting a test area with a couple dozen fruit trees the following spring. What began with a few fruit trees grew to numerous cherry, apple, and apricot trees. As their orchard started to take shape, the couple realized the soil, microclimate, and setting were ideal for and the customer demand was aimed at apples, and apples alone. Steve and Wendie centered their attention on planting a variety of apple trees and, through word of mouth, sold the first of their fruit in 2003.
A decade later, CherryHawk Farm still takes pride in the fact that they listen to feedback from their customers. When I asked about their plans to expand, they mentioned that Fuji apples were added to their lineup at the request of those who visit. The farm recently started pressing its own cider and also has hopes of making apple butter in the future. During my visit, McIntosh, Gala and Jonafree were ready for picking and I had an absolutely memorable afternoon watching my little helper experience the excitement of picking her own apples for the first time. She reminded me why I not only enjoy picking apples each year, but additionally why I love blogging about local food.
Depending on when you chose to visit CherryHawk Farm, their close to 1,000 trees take turns offering the following types of apples: Williams Pride, Red Free, Jonafree, Gala, Honeycrisp, McIntosh, Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious, Mutsu, Enterprise, Braeburn and Granny Smith. Bring a picnic and spend your afternoon on their beautiful property contemplating which apples you should bring home with you – A baking variety? An eating variety? Or my personal preference, a combination of both! The farm is open from the middle of July through early November, but before venturing out, refer to their website or Facebook page for the low-down on which varieties are ready to pick. If you would rather your apples be picked for you, visit their stand at the Marysville Farmers Market on Saturday from 8am-12pm. Even though apples can be “picked” off a store shelf year round, spending an afternoon in an orchard is one of my favorite fall activities and taking your family to pick your own bushels or pecks and share an old-fashioned experience at CherryHawk Farm will certainly keep the doctor away!
The CherryHawk Farm apples (pictured left) traveled 33 miles to Columbus, while the apples (pictured right) traveled 320 miles to Columbus.
Apples are a great source of fiber, low in calories, and packed full of Vitamin C. They are a great snack that suppresses your appetite and are known for lowering your risk of both coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease.
Note: When I hear the words bushel and peck I think of apples, but in case you are unfamiliar with these units of dry measure, they are used to describe all fruit and vegetable produce and are broken down below:
- One Peck = ¼ bushel, 2 gallons, 10-12 pounds
- One Bushel = 4 pecks, 8 gallons, 42-48 pounds
References5 Health Benefits of an Apple
Autumn Apple & Pumpkin Galette
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