When you’re looking for a wholesome, authentic experience for yourself or your family, Kimmel Orchard is the place. The only rides are on the back of a hay wagon, but the experience of visiting a working orchard will last a lifetime.
Visiting the Apple Barn is free of charge. There is a $2.00 per person admission to pick your own fruit. Hay rack rides are available with admission during our festivals and every weekend in September and October.
Come September, Kimmel Orchard is brimming over with apples—more than 30,000 bushels are harvested each year. That’s about 276,000 apples!
Apples arrive from the field in 20 bushel bins that are stored in a cooler until sorting. A vintage 1964 forklift transfers apples to the sorting conveyor.
Apples come in all sizes starting with pee wee, an apple that is less than two inches in diameter. Pee wees fall through the sorter and are used for cider production. The remaining apples are washed and placed into cups that further sort the apples according to weight and size. After sizing, they are hand inspected and graded. The best apples are packaged for retail sale and some are destined to become caramel apples sold in the gift shop.
Grade 2 and 3 apples are just as delicious as Grade 1 and are used for yummy Kimmel pies or refreshing cider.
How do you get those little pits out of ruby ripe cherries? It takes highly specialized equipment to pluck the pit and not damage the delicate flesh of the cherry.
Visitors who are at the Orchard in mid-June are invited to pick their own cherries. And, you don’t have to worry about pitting them. The Orchard will do it for you.
After washing, the cherries go for a roller coaster ride where they are sized in a rotating drum. When the drum reaches the top, steel spikes push through the cherry to remove the pit while retaining the lush round cherry. The cherries are bagged and returned to the visitors who picked them or become Kimmel Orchard’s famous cherry wine or pies.
Pits are collected, dried and used as burning pellets in a corn stove.
In the early days of the Kimmel Orchard, it took a lot of muscle to make cider because the process was completely manual. Today, the process is automated which means that a delicious glass of cider is ready just hours after picking.
After the apples are washed, they go through a grinder which makes a sort of applesauce that is then pressed to extract all the juices. The product that remains after pressing (pumice) is recycled. Once the juice is filtered and purified, it is bottled, capped and labeled and all that juicy goodness is placed in coolers or freezers.
Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard offers 40 acres of U-Pick crops with everything from apples to zucchinis. U-Pick is available from early strawberry crops to pumpkins in late fall. It is one of our most popular activities because you get to explore the orchard and leave with the fruits of your labors (pardon the pun).
It’s a great adventure for the whole family! You will find educational markers for many of the crops along the trail explaining what there is to see and what is in bloom. Each will tell a little about that variety’s origins, qualities and uses. Kids have a blast plucking ripe fruits from the rows of branches, and parents leave with fresh, local products to enjoy at home. If you like sweet, juicy fruits or something crisp and tart, there is something for you.
U-Pick is available Thursday-Sunday during business hours when our various fruit varieties are in season. We close the entrance 1 hour prior to ensure adequate time for picking and returning by closing time.
Everyone loves a ride in the Orchard behind a farm tractor, sitting on fragrant bales of hay. It’s a step back in time to when farm workers got to the field this way. Now days, it’s just pure fun to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine on a Nebraska day.
Offered during our festivals and on weekends in the fall, guests can experience a beautiful view of the Orchard. Guided hayrack tours are available upon request. Visit our “Schedule an Event” page to inquire for further details.
No matter what the season or crop, there will be a festival to celebrate the harvest. Strawberries in spring, cherries and peaches in summer and pumpkins in the fall—all are honored and celebrated in their season. Demonstrations, u-pick opportunities, music and food add up to fun for the entire family. Check our Events page to find dates and times.
It’s no secret that Nebraska has experienced significant growth in its wine industry in recent years. What is less well-known is that Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard was growing grapes in the early eighteenth century. In fact, this area was home to the premier grape-growers of the region before the Prohibition. Nestled in the Loess Hills of the Missouri River Valley, we are blessed with a unique soil geology that is found only two other places in the world. It creates especially fertile farmland and great growing conditions.
Perhaps what is most unique is to Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard is that every variety of fruit used in our wines is grown on property. Come in for a wine tasting and taste for yourself the delicious range of offerings. With a wide selection of red, white and fruit wines, you are sure to find something to suit your pallet.
For a sneak preview see our wine tasting guide which describes each of our varietals and blends.