apples

Guest Post. Hither & Thither. 10 Farms to Get Closer to Agriculture.

Apple Hill Farm

Today I am featured over on Hither & Thither a blog written by a local mom, Ashley Muir Bruhn. Ashley asked me to write a local guide for her so I wrote a guide titled, Ten Farms to Get Closer to Agriculture in Apple Hill (Camino, CA).

I started reading Ashley’s writing this summer after she found me on my Instagram and I have had fun reading her lifestyle and travel blog since then. She features many of the same restaurants and getaways that are our favorites too.

Head over to her blog to access my guide. Apple season is wrapping up here in Northern California so it’s the perfect time to plan a trip. I always tell friends to try to visit Apple Hill midweek since weekend crowds make traffic and parking extremely difficult and the farms become so overrun with tourists that the experience is not ideal. (more…)

Farm Lessons. What is Dry Farming.

Dry Farmed Apples from 24 Carrot Farm

What is Dry Farming

I have been hearing more about dry-farming lately. It’s not the first I have heard of the practice. Back when I worked in the wine industry I worked for some of the most famous ultra-premium wineries in Napa and Sonoma and many of our vineyards were dry-farmed. At that time wineries with dry-farmed grapes were getting rewarded with top reviews and bringing in the highest dollar value with wine conoisseurs. Now, with the California drought continuing it seems like more farmers and consumers are becoming aware of the practice and supporting it. Interestingly enough, California utilized dry-farming during the 1800’s and even through part of the 20th century until modern agricultural practices shifted to less use of the practice. (more…)

Best of Apple Hill 2015. Best Pie. Apple Pantry Farm (Camino, CA)

Apple Pie in Apple Hill

Apple Hill, the apple growing region just outside of Sacramento boasts over 50 farms growing local apples and offering visitors experiences of all types. Located just off Highway 50 on the way to South Lake Tahoe, Apple Hill is the perfect diversion for tourists and locals. Most apple farms in the area serve up homemade style apple pies during peak apple season. We asked around and tried our share of pies and found our favorite this apple season.

Apple Pantry Farm is in it’s 12th season and has been providing a quaint picturesque stop to guests to try their homemade style pies served up with creamy vanilla ice cream. The farm is located on Hidden Valley Road a country road off the beaten trail and tourists thin out here and the pace immediately slows down. During our visit on a Friday during peak season, tourists were arriving by busload at the more crowded farms and this one we had the whole place to ourselves for part of our visit. (more…)

Watch. History of Apples in El Dorado County. (Apple Hill, CA)

HIstory of Apples In El Dorado County

We spend so many weekends in El Dorado County’s gorgeous apple growing region of Apple Hill, CA. See how this region started with a video produced by El Dorado County Ag in the Classroom. We even saw some adorable cameos by my tots’ friends from the area which made this video even more endearing.

I learned that El Dorado County’s number one commodity is apples! Since this is our home it was fun to learn that a snack my tots eat daily contributes to the success of farmers in our area.

Best of Apple Hill 2015. Best Attraction. El Dorado Orchards (Camino, CA)

El Dorado Orchards Train

El Dorado Orchards has been a favorite attraction of our tots for three years now. The train ride is one of our annual stops and this year was no exception. We usually visit this farm on our way out of Apple Hill. It is a quick stop with lots of parking and a perfect last activity before heading home for naps. The train costs $3.50 and the ticket booth takes cash and credit. The ride takes about five minutes and makes a lazy loop around a scenic pond, through apple orchards and berries.

The farm offers visitors craft booths, food, apples, juice, baked goods and picnic tables. This year they featured Boa Vista apples, juices, dougnuts and bakery selections and caramel apples. Boa Vista apples are some of our favorite so we purchased juice and caramel apples this trip. (more…)

Farmstand Visit. Boa Vista Orchards. Apple Hill (Placerville, CA)

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Apple Hill is known for it’s fall season that runs from Labor Day through November.  The season dips for a week or two and then returns with excitement the day after Thanksgiving when eager families from Sacramento and surrounding areas come looking for the perfect Christmas tree.  Apple Hill often gets some early snow in the fall months making it a chilly excursion we keep returning for year after year.  My favorite time in Apple Hill comes after the busy months.  Winter is my favorite season when crowds have thinned out, parking becomes easier and my country buzz isn’t spoiled by throngs of tourists.  Most apple farms  are shuttered by this time and only my favorite remains.  Boa Vista Orchards.

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Boa Vista is open every day year round making it a destination for any season.  We use Boa Vista as a nice 20 minute drive to shake off our routine and get out of the city.  For Sacramento residents it’s about 45-60 minutes up Highway 50 towards South Lake Tahoe.  Apple Hill gets some snow occasionally, except usually is below chain control, so it’s the perfect stop for weary Tahoe travelers.  It’s only about a 2 minute departure from Highway 50 and offers restrooms, easy plentiful parking, picnic areas and lots of room to stretch out and take a break.

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Boa Vista is a family owned farm that features their own products along with those of neighboring farms and beyond.  Apples are available year round so my family can get our fill of the giant boxes we crave.  Because it’s a fully operational farm stand Boa Vista also offers baked goods, dairy products, frozen pies, juices, artisan sauces and marinades, local honey and more.

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I can do all my weekly shopping at Boa Vista in one easy stop.  Seasonal produce is available so summer months offer mouth-watering sweet peaches, cherries and more.  Each month offers a new surprise so we try to come throughout the year.  During the fall busy season Boa Vista features local artists and craftsmen and has a fully operational barbecue stand giving hungry visitors a variety of options.  During slower months and year round there is also food available at the bakery window inside the stand.  A wood burning stove is a cozy gathering spot on cold days to enjoy a warm beverage and your choice of apple baked goods.

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Today we got two 20 pound boxes of apples that were the BOGO (buy one get one) price of $14.99 making each box only$7.50 and that’s way cheaper than any of our surrounding grocery stores.  (Boa Vista Orchards does not feature organic produce except it is mostly local so for me it’s a partial win).  We also picked up Bosc pears, a pineapple, tomatoes, lemons and a big bag of oranges.  We also picked up some unpasteurized apple cider that was also a BOGO price of $7.99 making each gallon jug only $4.  These jugs are freezable so picking up one extra and throwing it in the freezer is easy and preserves the juice for another week or two.  There are more bottled juice options available outside the refrigerator area including apple, pear and more than I can list.  Just venture off to the deepest corner of the stand next to the refrigerators.

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I don’t usually buy frozen pies except this year my family picked one up for me for a post Thanksgiving party we were hosting.  The pies are often on sale for just $6.99 for the traditional apple pie variety and it baked up to make the most impressive homestyle apple pie I have had.  There are lots of interesting varieties so if you want to be able to take your Apple Hill bakery experience with you to replicate at home this is the place to make your purchase.

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Boa Vista is waiting for you to explore at 2952 Carson Rd., Placerville, CA 95667.  Reach them at 530.622.5522 or online at www.boavista.com