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fantastic apple orchard needed

Amy Sep 23, 2004 11:15 AM

Does anyone have a favorite apple orchard to recommend within 4 hours of Chicago? I hear the local farmers didn't have a very good crop.

We don't need to pick our own, but would love a place with top quality fruit and cider. (Great doughnuts would be a plus too!)

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    Kim RE: Amy Sep 23, 2004 11:46 AM

    There's a place called Apple Holler in Kenosha, right off I-94. I have been wanting to go there, it looks like a fun place .Make a day of it and hit the Brat Stop, Mars cheese, Woodmans. Also here is a web address for apple orchards. www.applejournal.com/wi02.htm

    Link: http://www.appleholler.com

    1. d
      DC RE: Amy Sep 23, 2004 11:49 AM

      Here is a link to the State of Michigan dept of Agriculture's AgTourism page. It lists over 250 u-pick-em orchards, cider mills and farmer's markets. You can search by name, city, county, region.

      Link: http://www.mda.state.mi.us/market/u-p...

      1. j
        Julie RE: Amy Sep 23, 2004 01:04 PM

        The Elegant Farmer is fantastic!!! I think it's in East Troy, WI. Check out their website for their ripening schedule. You can pick your own or buy them from the store across the street from the orchards.

        Have a caramel apple too while you're there, they're the best!!


        1. j
          Julie RE: Amy Sep 23, 2004 01:07 PM

          The Elegant Farmer is fantastic! They have pick your own and apples you can buy from the store. Check out there website:


          Have a caramel apple while you're there too, they're the best!

          1. h
            HappyFatGuy RE: Amy Sep 23, 2004 01:26 PM

            Every year, my family and I make a pilgrimage out to the Rockford area to go to Edwards Orchard West. They have a commercial orchard and a u-pick orchard.

            They also have a playground, a couple of old tractors the kids can play on, a petting zoo, pony rides (weekends only, weather permitting), a really cool country store and the BEST cider dogunts I have ever had along with carmel apples, pies and other baked goods. They also grow pumpkins and mums and have a (very) small rasberry picking area.

            They do not take credit cards but will take personal checks.

            They are located a few miles West of Rockford:
            Edwards Apple Orchard West
            8218 Cemetery Rd
            Winnebago, IL 61088

            3 Replies
            1. re: HappyFatGuy
              C Kahl RE: HappyFatGuy Nov 22, 2004 07:09 PM

              It's true that Edward's is cool and a great "family" place. However, it does not have apple pies. The Edwards Apple Orchard in Poplar Grove (IL) has the apple pies.

              1. re: C Kahl
                Resident of a NW Chicago Suburb RE: C Kahl Oct 2, 2005 03:34 AM

                The Orchard in Poplar Grove Does Has Apple Pies and they are good, but not good enough to overshadow thier Warden style tactics. I mean don't even try and take a pleasure walk near the apple trees unless you have $20 in your hand, and then your are still hounded.

                No Thanks, I'll go to Winnebago where the cidar doughnuts are identical, take a walk thru freely thru the orchards, observe the twice as many varieties, take my kid to their larger petting zoo, and gladly spend my money and more of it for a nice family experience, and skip the pie.

              2. re: HappyFatGuy
                C Kahl RE: HappyFatGuy Nov 22, 2004 07:09 PM

                It's true that Edward's is cool and a great "family" place. However, it does not have apple pies. The Edwards Apple Orchard in Poplar Grove (IL) has the apple pies.

              3. c
                Cathy2 RE: Amy Sep 23, 2004 06:11 PM


                I would telephone in advance to check conditions before driving out to your favorite orchard.

                I was at an Orchard around Richmond, Illinois (Think McHenry County just under the IL-WI state borders). Where normally all the trees are weighted down with fruits, there were maybe 1-2 apples per tree. What happened? A frost during apple blossom time nipped almost all fruit production.

                I have a friend who lives due west of Chicago whose trees blossomed considerably. She has nearly no good apples because the constant rains caused a lot of spotty molds on her apples. Her crop is largely a bust.

                So between late frost and rains, a lot of apples in our region didn't flourish as well.

                Some large orchard operations are likely to have apples shipped in just to keep their operations going.

                I would certainly phone before heading out to double check conditions especially if u-pick is your goal. Please note you usually pay more for u-pick apples because of liability coverage.


                1. j
                  jbburn RE: Amy Sep 23, 2004 10:21 PM

                  i always like tree-mendus orchard in eau claire michigan, north of south bend,indiana.you can pick or buy picked. good variety and nice location.there is also a place in coloma michigan called jollay orchards .they do a whole fall thing and make a great apple pie cooked in a bag.both are less than 4 hours from chicago.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jbburn
                    Vlajos RE: jbburn Sep 29, 2008 01:31 PM

                    Tree-mendous is the best. Highly reccomended. Only about 2 hours from Chicago.

                  2. l
                    leesh RE: Amy Sep 28, 2004 01:57 PM

                    I go to Jollay Orchards every Fall. It has the best apple pie, cider, caramel apples - almost too much to eat in one visit! It's great for both kids and adults, and their haunted house is so much fun! Pick 'em yourself apples, a mini cornfield maze and it's about 1 1/2 to 2 hrs tops from Chicago, right near St. Joes.

                    Please post on where you decide to go.


                    Jollay Orchards
                    Coloma Ā— Berrien County
                    Phone: 616-468-3075
                    Enjoy free hayrides to pick apples and pumpkins. Farm market with specialty products. Make your own warm caramel apples, apple pie baked in a paper bag, jams, jellies and other Fall items. Visit our new Haunted House. Spend a day at Jollay Orchards!
                    Open: mid-Sept. thru Oct. 31, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Weekends only! Haunted House open nights 7-11 p.m.
                    Directions: Exit 39 off I-94, turn left 2 mi.

                    1. a
                      Amy RE: Amy Oct 8, 2004 10:45 AM

                      We had a great time last weekend at Jollay Orchards. The "harvest festival" was low-key but fun. The apple trees were 75% cleared out, but there were still more than enough trees with fruit. We picked mostly Jonathans, and they have been absolutely delicious, with a rich, complex flavor and non-mealy texture (I despise supermarket apples). The piping hot cinnamon doughnuts were great too. Again, thank you chowhounds for your guidance!

                      Link: http://www.jollayorchards.com/

                      1. d
                        dawnk5 RE: Amy Sep 29, 2008 01:21 PM

                        update - looking for an apple to orchard to visit this weekend, anyone been yet in 2008 and have a recommendation? Prefer no more than 1 1/2 hrs from downtown chicago. upick, prefer a place with homemade cider and donuts too. thanks!

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: dawnk5
                          valpobob RE: dawnk5 Sep 30, 2008 09:13 AM

                          country line orchard in hobart in. right off of 80 94, i think they have a web site.

                          1. re: dawnk5
                            swsidejim RE: dawnk5 Sep 30, 2008 09:38 AM

                            we went apple and raspberry picking 2 weekends ago over in Waterman, IL - about an hour and a half west of Chicago.

                            Hay rides, and maze for the kids as well as farm animals. the Apples were good, and the raspberries were great.


                            1. re: swsidejim
                              LikestoEatout RE: swsidejim Sep 30, 2008 11:00 AM

                              Jim, we went to the Honey Hill orchard in Waterman last season, may hit again if the timing is right on a trip to Peoria. Lately we have been going to Jonamac Orchard in Malta just west of DeKalb. We don't pick but like th fact they have open bins of fresh picked that you can mix and match varieties. and take as much or little as you want. Fun part about the trip to Honey Hill, you can drive by Hinckley Sky Dive club, fun to watch!

                              1. re: LikestoEatout
                                swsidejim RE: LikestoEatout Sep 30, 2008 11:32 AM

                                we had a good time, although our daughter seemed more interested in snarfing the berries instead of putting them in the container.. :-D

                                Honey Hill was only about 40 mins. from where we live.

                          2. d
                            ddfry3 RE: Amy Sep 30, 2008 09:32 AM

                            Highly, highly recommend Curtis Orchard in Champaign. Much more than an orchard...lots of preserves, pies, cafe, pumpkin patch, and on and on. Plus Champaign has a number of very good restaurants. It's a little over 2 hours to the Loop from Champaign.


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