October 25, 2016

A Sunday Drive to the Apple Orchards

skihi view

We drove to the Baraboo Hills and the Driftless Region on Sunday, thinking the fall color would be brilliant. It wasn't--it was "past peak"--but it was still an incredibly beautiful day, with partly cloudy skies, light winds, and temperatures in the high 60sF/20C.

skihi trail

While many of the leaves had fallen, the sunlight hitting the foliage and the bare branches was pleasant.

skihi people

And the day was bright.

Actually, our quest extended beyond fall color. We were heading for some apple orchards--to stock up for pies, crisps, and snacking. Our first stop was one of our family's favorite destinations--Ski Hi Fruit Farm, just south of Baraboo. The weather was great for a picnic before apple shopping.

skihi picnic

Fortunately, we'd packed a lunch, so the fishman and I plopped down on a picnic-table-for-two amid the fruit trees, overlooking the valley.

skihi history

After buying some apples and other goodies, we explored the property and read about the homestead's history. Ski-Hi, owned by the Bassett family has been in continuous production for more than 100 years. The family grows about 25 varieties of apples on 50 acres.

skihi homestead

skihi view 2

It's a beautiful property with great views, in addition to the apples as the main attraction.

oakwood tractor

Our next stop was Oakwood Fruit Farm, near Richland Center. This was our first visit to this orchard, also a pleasant experience. Oakwood has an attractive display area and family-friendly farm props and activities.

oakwood view

It also has great views of the surrounding hills and valleys.

oakwood orchard

oakwood trees

oakwood produce

oakwood pumpkins

The pumpkins and other produce were tempting, but we already had some at home.

oakwood trees 2

Oakwood, run by the Louis family, started production in the early 1900s. The orchard includes more than 20 cultivars, grown on about 200 acres.

food

By the end of the day, we'd purchased 15 pounds of apples (Cortlands, Spartans, and Royal Galas), a jar of Bucky Badger horseradish, and six apple cider donuts (notice two are missing?). After snapping this haphazard photo, I'd planned to re-do it, but by then there were only two donuts left. Have you ever tasted apple cider donuts?!

32 comments:

  1. We live near Baraboo, and from what I have heard, the "peak" just never came. The colors were simply browns and a few yellows. A farmer told me this weekend that it is due to us not having a freeze or even a hard frost yet this year. Love Ski-Hi!! My hubs who is a teacher went on a field trip there last Monday with K- 5th graders. Fun times!!

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    1. Hi Chris: That's interesting about the peak color. This whole growing season has been weird--awesome in some ways and not so great in others. I love Ski-Hi, too! We've gone there most Octobers for the past 20+ years--with our kids and now as empty-nesters. Lovely place, even without the "peak" color we're used to. Thanks for stopping by the blog!

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  2. I miss suur grauen apples from Switzerland.
    I think they are called russet in English.

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    1. Oh yes, I'm familiar with Russets. Apples in season are such a treat! Picked on-site at the orchard, even better. :)

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  3. This looks like the perfect get away in autumn. I can almost smell the fallen leaves and the apples.

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    1. Yes, it's always a treat to head to the apple orchards in October! I must admit the best scent of all is the heavenly scent of the apple pies and cider donuts baking on-site! Gosh, it's impossible to resist buying them.

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  4. Apple cider donuts are my favorite!! Sounds like a great day. I love anything appley. :o)

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    1. Me, too. It was great fun! We visit orchards every October--there are so many nearby. I can't get enough apple "stuff" this time of year!

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  5. I've always loved your photos, but now that first one is so beautiful for me. I haven't been to an apple orchard, only saw apple trees once-in-a while, unfortunately what i saw are always immature fruits. I wish to still see one with ripe fruits ready for picking.

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    1. Thank you, Andrea. Apple trees are awesome. We used to have three on our old property--three that we planted ourselves and that bore quite a bit of fruit. They are beautiful draped with ripe apples!

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  6. I love photo number 6!!
    Yes, I tried apple cider donuts for the first time this year. Yum!! So good.
    Thank you for helping me learn more about our great state of Wisconsin!

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    1. Yes, that old homestead house is nifty and it sits in an idyllic spot. Oh my gosh, those donuts are the greatest, aren't they?! Back at you, re: Wisconsin information. :)

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  7. What a fun day! Your countryside is beautiful. Not sure how spectacular our fall foliage will be as it has been so dry. But, I need to get out to some of our farms and get some apples. I have an apple crisp recipe I am wanting to try.

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    1. It is gorgeous up in the Baraboo Hills--usually more colorful in October, but our autumn is a little muted this year because of all the rain and the mild temperatures. I think we actually had better fall color the year we had the drought. Have fun at the apple orchards! I love apple crisp, too. :)

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  8. Sounds like a wonderful day and the weather certainly co-operated (as we sit here at -1C/30F right now!). We usually go apple picking every September, but time just wasn't on our side this year.

    How wonderful that the cabin is still in such good condition - I always get a tingly feeling when I see historical places like that, especially when they belonged to "common folk" and you think of the people that once lived there.

    And you have better willpower then we do...those donuts would have been gone before the camera was out of the bag :)

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    1. Yes, it was fun! Argh--too cold for you! I'm not ready for it, but we've been spoiled this year. Of course, that means the fall color isn't as vibrant either. Oh well ... I agree about the history--the stories are so fascinating. Regarding the donuts: They, sadly, are long gone ...

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  9. Thanks for taking us along on your wonderful day trip. The Wisconsin countryside is lovely, even if "past peak". We used to drive to SW Michigan to pick apples when the kids were small. It makes for a very special day.

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    1. You're welcome. :) Yes, it is gorgeous outside the city. Well, the city is OK, too. Michigan is an awesome state, as well, and similar to Wisconsin in many ways. We used to vacation there when I was a kid in Indiana and we had Michigan cousins. Apple orchards are a wonderful fall tradition!

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  10. Great post Beth! You always take such great photos and do a fantastic job of capturing the moment of the season. In case you didn't know, this is Diane from formerly Diane's Texas Garden and My Pure Michigan. I've started a new blog on my life in two states. lifeintwostates.blogspot.com It's good to be back in touch with you! Keep posting!

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    1. Thanks, Diane. Welcome back to blogging! I will head over to your blog after I write this response. :) Autumn, spring, and summer are wonderful in the Midwest. A little bit of winter, too. Then I want to get out of here in February! You're fortunate to have a place to escape to during the winter!

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  11. I too like this time of year to visit farmers in the area. The produce is always so pretty mixed with all the rustic things about the farm and produce stands. The fields of apples are beautiful.

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    1. I really enjoy it, too. As you say, the produce and the foliage and the bright skies make the season very colorful. And we have apples! (No more donuts, but plenty of apples!)

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  12. Lovely place! The pumpkins look awesome...

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    1. Yes, the orchards are awesome! And so many healthy, colorful pumpkins. Harvest is hopeful. :)

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  13. Loved this Beth . . .
    and the memories . . .
    Been to Ski Hi . . .
    Lived in Baraboo.
    Like the Richland Center pics too, born there.
    Oh my . . . WISCONSIN Beauty . . .
    Thank You . . .

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    1. Thanks, Lynne! Oh, so you're very familiar with these locations! I remembered that you lived in Wisconsin, but had forgotten the Baraboo/Richland Center connections. Michigan is amazing, too. Love the Midwest! :)

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  14. Apple Cider doughnuts sound delicious! It looks like you had a beautiful, fruitful day, a day to make you feel good in every way! Thanks for sharing your lovely photos.

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    1. Oh, yes, I highly recommend them! We also enjoy our jaunts to the apple orchards. Autumn isn't my favorite time of year, but some of the season's activities sure are sweet. :)

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  15. Great photos -- I haven't been up to the Baraboo area/Ski-Hi in ages. We went to Schuster's yesterday, which included a couple apple cider donuts. Yum!

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    1. Thanks, Heather. Schuster's is great, too. We actually have so many great apple orchards and farm markets in the area, don't we?! Yes, those donuts are dangerously tasty!

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  16. Yes, I have tasted apple cider donuts--yummm! What a lovely outing, and it looks like you picked the perfect day for it. As tempting as the donuts and apples are, my husband would go straight for that Bucky Badger horseradish:)

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  17. A drive in the country in the fall is a must, even if it is a vicarious one. I can almost smell and taste it. Thank you!

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