Embracing the Beauty of Fall at Mountain Orchard
Every year, as autumn paints the world with vibrant hues, I eagerly await the opportunity to return to Mountain Orchards for apple picking. It’s a tradition filled with cherished memories.
Discovering Mountain Orchard: A Haven for Family Fun
Located just 10 minutes from Kemptville and a 40-minute drive from Ottawa, Mountain Orchards has come a long way since its inception in 1973. From its humble beginnings to its current 10,000 trees, Mountain Orchards has remained a beloved family tradition for generations.
Apple Picking Delight: Our Experience at Mountain Orchards
We embarked on our apple-picking adventure at Mountain Orchards, and it was nothing short of amazing. The site is vast, with thousands of apple trees, each hosting a variety of apple species, including McIntosh, Spartan, Cortland, Eden, Empire, Ambrosia, and Golden Delicious, to name just a few..
A Full-Day Excursion: Clean, Friendly, and Inviting
Mountain Orchards is an ideal destination for a full-day outing. The location is immaculate, with ample parking, and the staff is incredibly friendly. You could spend an entire day here and never run out of things to do.
Weekday Tranquility: A Perfect Time to Visit
This year, we chose a weekday to visit the apple farm, ensuring a more tranquil experience. Even on weekdays, there were plenty of folks picking apples and filling their bags with nature’s bounty.
Ambrosia Delight: Exploring the Orchard’s Treasures
Taking a tractor ride from the main area, we reached the Ambrosia apple orchard – my personal favorite. Ambrosia apples, a cross between Red and Golden Delicious, are known for their cream-colored flesh, delightful sweetness, crispness, and a unique honeyed aroma. These apples are perfect for pies and have an incredible storage life. The Ambrosia apple stands out as one of Canada’s sweetest and crispiest apple varieties.
Pricing and Activities: A Balancing Act
The cost of apple picking at Mountain Orchards is based on the bag, not its weight. This year’s prices for Pick-Your-Own apples are as follows: 11lb for $27.50 and 20lb for $47.50. While the apples may seem a bit expensive, the orchard offers free admission and a plethora of activities to enjoy. In addition to apple picking, you can revel in wagon rides, navigate corn mazes, explore forest trails, play in the playground, take a thrilling straw jump, or have a picnic amidst the orchard’s beauty.
The Bakery Delights: Handmade Goodness
Don’t forget to visit the Mountain Orchard bakery, where each pastry is lovingly handmade with no additives, preservatives, or artificial coloring. You can indulge in classic butter tarts, with or without raisins, savor their signature creation – apple butter tarts, and treat your taste buds to delicious pecan tarts. If you want to enjoy these treats at home, they have a fantastic selection in their freezers. And, they offer pie kits for those who wish to bake a perfect “Mountain Orchards” pie at home.
Famous Doughnuts to Satisfy Your Cravings
Mountain Orchards is famous for its mouthwatering doughnuts. Of course, we couldn’t resist the temptation of fresh, warm, sugar-glazed apple doughnuts. We enjoyed them on-site and took some home, and don’t miss the fun of watching the doughnut-making machine in action.
The History of Mountain Orchards: A Journey Through Time
Mountain Orchards has a rich history that stretches back to 1973 when the minimum wage in Ontario was $1.80 per hour. The orchard’s story is intertwined with the Lyall and Hobson families, who embarked on this farming adventure with youthful enthusiasm and a passion for learning.
The Roots of Mountain Orchard
The land on which Mountain Orchards stands today has a deep historical significance. Originally occupied by the Mohawk and Mississauga First Nations, it was ceded to the Crown through the Crawford Purchases of October 1783. The land’s history traces back to the United Empire Loyalists’ arrival in the 1780s after the American Revolution. Mountain, the orchard’s namesake, was christened in 1798 after Jacob Mountain, the Anglican Bishop of Quebec.
Generations of Growth and Innovation
Over the years, Mountain Orchards has evolved, expanding from its initial apple trees planted in 1932 to today’s 10,000 trees. The orchard has overcome challenges, updated production practices, and welcomed innovations like wind towers for frost protection and drip irrigation for drought resistance. The family’s enthusiasm and hard work have been the driving force behind this remarkable journey.
Our visit to Mountain Orchard was not just about apples; it was about creating cherished family traditions. From exploring the rich history to indulging in delicious pastries, and the exciting apple-picking experience, Mountain Orchard offered us a perfect fall day. It’s a place where nature’s beauty and the joy of family come together. Be sure to consider a visit, especially during the much-anticipated Honeycrisp Weekend, one of the most popular events at Mountain Orchards.