Acres of Fields Alive with Flavors to Explore
Expect fresh experiences when you walk the fields at Kimmel Orchard. From lush apple and tart cherry trees to colorful rows of pears, peaches, plums and berries—the opportunity to step in and be a part of a working orchard is a unique experience to share with your family or your students.
Add a little curriculum to your orchard adventure by downloading the Happy Orchard app via your iPhone or iPad App Store for free. Happy Orchard is an innovative series of educational products all designed to help youth and adults better understand the important role of pollinators in food production.
Slice ‘em, bake ‘em or snack on them whole—however you prefer to enjoy your Kimmel Orchard apples, you’ll taste a careful perfection that only comes from 90-plus years of experience.
High in fiber and low in calories, these pears are packed with micronutrients that support your blood, bone and cardiovascular health.
These dark purple jewels of the orchard are an excellent source of antioxidants that strengthen the body’s ability to fight infection and disease.
Like peas in a pod, our two varieties of cherries cozy up nicely together and stand strong on their own whether you’re baking, juicing or popping them like tart candy.
Surround yourself with rows of delectable peaches native to Northwest China between the Tarim Basin and northern slopes of the picturesque Kunlun Shan mountains.
The lush patches of strawberries covering the Kimmel Orchard grounds are antioxidant- and vitamin-packed sources of fiber, manganese and potassium.
Hey! Asparagus isn’t a fruit. You’re right, but any friend of our fruit should be a friend of yours.
Green, fleshy spears topped with tasty bud-like compact heads, asparagus is harvested in the spring when it is 6–8 inches tall. Its succulent taste and tender texture make this nutrient-packed side a healthy and favorable addition to any summertime meal. Asparagus is loaded with healthy nutrients and is a great accent to any summertime meal.
The Apples and Cherries Don’t Process Far from the Trees
Bring your children and students out to Kimmel Orchard to experience a working orchard firsthand. Processed and pitted fresh from the fields—even picked by your group, if you so choose—it’s the perfect way to instill an appreciation for the nutritious foods most only find in the produce aisle.
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 forklift transfers apples to a vintage 1964 sorting conveyor.
Apples come in all sizes starting with lunchbox, an apple that is less than two inches in diameter. Lunchbox apples 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.
Grade 2 and 3 apples are just as delicious as Grade 1 and are used for yummy Kimmel pies or refreshing cider.
It took a lot of muscle to make cider in the early days because the process was completely manual. Today, our state-of-the-art press delivers fresh, UV treated cider hours after the fruit is picked from the tree.
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.
Tart Cherry Processing
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.