Apple season is upon us here in Ohioâ€”but the first thing you need to do is find good apples! Although many farmerâ€™s markets carry more than the ubiquitous Red Delicious, your best bet is to find a local orchard. Ideally, you want to be able to pick your own apples, so you can make sure you have enough for eating, pressing for cider, freezing, as applesauce, or for baking and pies.
Many farmstands, although offering excellent quality, canâ€™t always supply the quantities needed by the home preservationist. If the farmstand is your only option, get to know your proprietors, and make arrangements for the quantities you need as early as you can.
Here in Wayne County Ohio, we have a wealth of apple varieties from which to choose. What many call â€˜heritageâ€™ or â€˜heirloomâ€™ apples have been grown for generations by local orchardists, and sold at Amish farm stands and pick-your-own orchards.
If you know what you need, work with your orchardistâ€”order early, and be prepared to pick up apples throughout the season as they ripen. If you havenâ€™t done so already, contact your orchardist now, and see whatâ€™s available, and what you can reserve for your needs.
The Ohio Department of Agricultureâ€™s 2010 Annual Report notes that apples are a good business in Ohio. Over 83,000 pounds of apples were produced in Ohio in 2010, the most current year for which statistics are available. Ohio ranks 9th nationally in apple production.
Ohio Apples, the growers’ association for Ohio apple farmers notes the following mainstream and traditional varieties, among others, are grown in Ohio: Jonathon, Law Rome, Stayman, Crispin, Criterion, Empire, Granny Smith, Melrose (For more information and a complete list, visit http://www.ohioapples.com/ohio_apples_useschart.htm) Each apple variety has strengths and weaknesses, so be sure you know what youâ€™re buying. The chart notes which are best for eating, applesauce, pies, general baking and freezing.
If youâ€™re visiting Lehmanâ€™s in Kidron, and planning to tour Amish Country, Ohio, donâ€™t miss the three excellent production orchards listed below. Call to see whatâ€™s ripe, and to check hours.
Wayne County Orchards
Moreland Fruit Farm
1558 W. Moreland Road
Wooster, OH 44691
May and Nov Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Closed Sun
13624 Mt. Eaton Road
Doylestown, OH 44230
Tues-Sat 9-7, Sun 11-5, Closed Mondays