Few types of fresh produce say “fall” more than pumpkins and apples, even if you’re launching the latter from a slingshot.
But while Julia Nunes, 73rd Alice in Dairyland, got to enjoy that particular experience — hitting the target on her third attempt — while giving a virtual tour of a Wisconsin apple orchard on Oct. 7, the livestream was designed to promote an apple experience that more people could easily take advantage of: the seventh annual Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch to be held the following day.
Nunes hosted the live Facebook event from Sutter’s Ridge Farm near Mount Horeb. Sutter’s Ridge Farm grows 30 varieties of apples — fallen apples are indeed slated for an apple slingshot that visitors can use — as well other fall season produce including pumpkins and raspberries.
Julie Sutter, one of the orchard’s owners, joined in on the event with both pre-recorded and live appearances to tell viewers about the farm and all it has has to offer, which in addition to produce includes an activity area and a corn maze, and to answer questions about the orchard and apples.
Sutter’s Ridge has been a family farm for three generations, the first two mainly as dairy but eventually transitioning into food production, Sutter said. The apple orchard got started in 2008 and is primarily focused on U-pick, although some pre-picked apples are available.
“I really truly feel that people want to be part of the harvest,” Sutter said.
The orchard aims to have its different varieties of apples ripening at different points from mid-to-late August through October, so that everybody can enjoy the U-pick experience if they want to, Sutter said.
The farm’s pumpkin patch is also planted later than many are to ensure that solid pumpkins are available until Halloween.
While picking apples may be half the fun for many people, getting to eat the apples, however they end up prepared and served, is apt to make up the other half.
A recorded demonstration with Nunes and Francesca Hong, co-founder of Cook it Forward and member of the Culinary Ladies Collective, showed viewers how to make three types of dips to enjoy with sliced apples: maple cinnamon dip, cashew butter delight and zesty cream cheese treat.
Nunes, Sutter and commenters during the live event discussed other ways to enjoy apples, from apple cobbler to cider and applesauce, but while there are many ways to prepare and consume the fruit, Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch celebrates with perhaps the simplest method: just take a bite.
While the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch aimed for a regional “crunch” on Oct. 8, according to their website, anyone who missed out is invited to take their own bite at any point during the month.
Statistics from last October’s Great Lake Great Apple Crunch show that over 1.8 million people across a six-state region participated in the 2019 “crunch.” The group’s stated goal for 2020 was to reach 2 million.
The Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch takes place during National Farm to School Month. Find out more about the apple campaign at cias.wisc.edu/applecrunch.
To find a Wisconsin apple orchard nearby, visit waga.org.
The full apple orchard tour can be found on the Alice in Dairyland Facebook page. Learn more about Sutter’s Ridge Farm at www.suttersridge.com.