Every fall from early September through later October the gates open to this enchanting farm (which follows organic practices) run by Michael and Sharon Yager. The tone is set when you pull off Highway 66 between Lyons and Longmont turning onto a tree lined drive with their over arching sign signaling you’ve arrived. I feel instantly transported as I wind through the quintessential farm buildings all painted in traditional barn red with white trim. This is a place you belong and you want to be.
An old fashioned cider press offers the opportunity to witness the process of the orchard apples becoming apple cider. Until you’ve tasted freshly made apple cider you really have not experienced apple cider at its finest.
Lastly they have a tractor pulled hay wagon that will tour you around the newest part of the orchard for $2. This area of planting will vastly expand the orchard in about 3 to 5 years.
If the experience and surroundings are not enough, a few minutes with Sharon and Michael is worth the drive. I’ve spoken with Sharon over our visits and to see her is to feel you’ve reconnected with your long time best friend. She’s happy, upbeat and funny, directing you to all the farm has to offer. Her hospitality feels more as though you are a treasured guest coming to stay with them for the weekend rather than being a patron for an hour or so.
As I was carting today’s apples to the car (which we picked from yet another orchard of ‘old standard’ Portland and Rome apples using apple pickers) a low voice asked me ‘what are you going to do with those apples?’ I turned around to find Michael the proprietor. We got into a lengthy discussion about the merits of lemon zest added to apple crisp per his baking lineage as well as his background of having been a professional soccer player, PE teacher ‘before he got into medicine’ and then the tale of coming to this farm and what they’ve turned it into. When cleaning up the orchard initially they started off selling apples at the Farmer’s Market and then allowing people to come to the farm. They quickly realized what people were most interested in was the experience of picking the apples more so than the apples themselves. Having been from the East Coast where fall apple picking is a cultural staple, he endeavored to afford the experience to Colorado locals.
- $12 for ‘kids 8 and over’. Free for kids under 8. Cash or checks accepted.
- BBQ chicken and pork, side dishes and non-alcoholic beverages (food by RibHouse) and apple cider donuts (of course!).
- Hay rides for the family as well as apple cider pressing
- Musical entertainment by the Tanglewood (who Sharon describes to be Jimmy Buffet’ish)
- To be held outside rain or shine!
- If you’d like to pick apples you need to contact the farm to make reservations (303-485-5585, or email firstname.lastname@example.org). They are open for picking Friday, Saturday and Sundays through the weekend of October 24.
- You can still go to the farm even if you are not there to pick apples. You can buy pre-picked apples, enjoy the surroundings, the food stand, have a hayride ($2!) and soak it all in.
- They estimate you would spend about an hour if you are picking and looking around. Since it is a smaller orchard I think that is about right. Our picking with the apple picker took a bit longer due to the maneuvering with the device but with horses, hay field and the gorgeous Rocky Mountains in the distance, how could you better spend part of a day really!
- There is no entry fee to visit the farm. Bags of apples you pick (1/2 peck bags, which they provide, hold 5+ pounds of apples) range from $5 for less prime (but still completely delicious) apples to $10 a bag for others. Depending on where you are directed to pick there may be a limit on the amount (this year for the main orchards it is one bag). Sharon will tell you everything when you arrive. Check their website for the varieties available when you want to visit.