Apple picking on the Front Range? While orchards are limited, so far the 2021 harvest is not. – Loveland Reporter-Herald

An apple harvest like the one happening in northern Colorado right now is exactly what brought Mike Biwer and Will Perez to the West.

In the summer of 2019, the new farmers purchased 15 cultivated acres in Ault which were covered with some 2,000 fruit trees and were just starting to grow 149 different apple varieties, plus a handful of pears and plums each.

They bought their plot, now Adam’s Apple Orchard & Country Store, from Walt Rosenberg of Masonville Orchards, who had always planned a pick-up operation on site.

That first fall, the trees were young and the harvest small, according to Biwer. The following year, all the apple trees had succumbed to an end-of-season frost.

Finally, this growing season the apples are “bountiful,” said Biwer. “Last year we had no fruit; this year the volume and attendance have been spectacular. … We’re sort of coming to our sweet spot, no pun intended. McIntosh, Honeycrisp, Jonathan; some of the most popular apples are coming.

3-year-old Cashel Keena carries her own bag of hand-picked apples to Adam’s Apple Orchard & Country Store on September 19, 2021 in Ault. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)

And while apples are plentiful, Front Rangers looking to pluck them for snacks, baking, and more should go harvest them while they still can.

According to Sharon Perdue, 18-year-old apple grower and owner of Ya Ya Farm, the three-year apple growing cycle Biwer and Perez went through in their first growing seasons is an almost certain thing along the Front Range. . & Orchard in Longmont.

“The problem we have here is that we have the April storms, so one year in three I don’t have a harvest, two out of three I have like half a harvest”, said Perdue. “This year is the best harvest I have had since 2012.”

“There are so many apples, but maybe we’ll have a frost by (October). “

In 2014, Perdue experienced the kind of “freak” fall storm that “literally froze the trees in half. I lost 600 trees that year alone, 15 years (of work) in one night, ”she explained. “Part of the reason people don’t have orchards here.”

After buying her 8-acre farm and restoring the land to grow 118 varieties of apples, mostly heirlooms, Perdue began bringing fruit to local farmers’ markets, where she encountered transplants from the Midwest and Coast. is who sought to pick fruit themselves.

“People used to tell me how they picked apples when they were kids,” she said of her customers in the market. “And I thought, ‘Well, why am I (picking apples) then? “

Ya Ya’s apple harvest has since become a community affair, with Perdue receiving more picking requests than she can meet. Now, U-Pick reservations for the following season start arriving around the first of each year.

Customers are emailing requests for U-Pick appointments that Perdue begins responding to, in order, by July.

If she has more availability, she will open the walk-in appointments. This year, she expects to have enough apples to do just that. Unless a cold snap occurs.

Mike Biwer, left, and Will Perez, ...
Mike Biwer, left, and Will Perez, pose for a portrait with baskets of their fresh apples inside the country store at Adam’s Apple Orchard & Country Store in Ault on September 19, 2021. The two new Colorado farmers have purchased what was formerly Masonville Orchards Ault in June 2019.

Biwer and Perez are delighted to open Adam’s Apple to anyone driving to Ault on weekends and by appointment Wednesday through Friday until the fruits last. So far, they have been surprised by the response.

“People want to go out and hang out in the countryside and be around the trees,” Biwer said. “They’re going to drive two to three hours just to pick apples… and it’s just overwhelming. It’s really cool.”

When they left the Midwest – and their respective careers in corporate sales and interior design – Biwer and Perez had no real farming experience, let alone experience living in a town of 2,000. inhabitants.

They say the reception at Adam’s Apple has been amazing, however. And this successful first season will help determine their U-pick activity for years to come.

“To see this reaction and the comments from people, I think we can find a way to capitalize,” Biwer said. “So that it is a beautiful community space, but also to make us live well too.”

Drew Maher helps his daughter Mikaela, ...
Drew Maher helps his daughter Mikaela, 3, pick apples by hand at Adam’s Apple Orchard & Country Store in Ault on September 19, 2021.

If you are going to

Adam’s apple is at 42135 Weld County Road 43 in Ault. The pick-your-own orchard is open every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and by appointment from Wednesday to Friday. The orchard also hosts weddings, reunions and school groups. The country store sells apple butter, cider, local honey and more. adamsapplecolorado.com

Ya ya is at 6914 Ute Highway in Longmont. As U-Pick reservations run out for 2021, owner Sharon Perdue runs an on-site farm stand, open to everyone, and she plans to open pickup during the week to last minute bookings and appointments. you. Check social media feeds and the Orchard website for this information. yayafarmandorchard.com

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