Gilcrease Orchard Las Vegas?
I actually live less than a mile from this orchard, billed as the only U pick orchard in Las Vegas, and actually the only orchard period. So I have been anxiously awaiting its opening. Everything I read indicated May, but May is almost gone and there is no sign of life...in fact, it looks a little untended, to be honest. I know the weather has been unseasonably cool (well, except for two days last week), but when I drive by I see fruit on trees (not sure what type of fruit...can't get close enough to tell). The website says "watch for Spring 2008 opening."
Anybody know the scoop? Are they opening this year? Did I move within a mile of a Upick orchard only to have it go out of business?? (I can see that happening with the higher gas prices and the number of vacant homes around here....)
Gilcrease Orchard is at the corner of Farm and Whispering Sands roads in the northwest Vegas suburbs.....
I went last year towards the end of apple picking season. I thought this place was amazing! They had several varieties of apples including granny smith, golden delicious, and I think Fiji's. Some apples were the size of softballs! They also had pears. We picked tomatoes, squash, and okra. They also had watermelons. I can't remember if they weighed the bags of produce or if they just charged by the bags, but we ended up with 3 full bags of apples, and 2 bags of vegetables and paid maybe $20. I also saw fig trees, but no fruit. I do recall an admission, but it was minimal, maybe $5. Just go if you like that sort of thing. I'm from Florida where fruit and vegetables stands are very common and it isn't out here. I thought it was great. Have fun!!!
An update: I went today and admission is $2 for adults, a dollar for kids. I think its worth it, because the produce was 65 cents a pound. Where can you get apricots for that?
The pickings are still a little slim. Apricots and zucchini right now, and their homemade apple cider for sale (1.50 a quart, which I think is a good price, so I bought some). The apricots are small, but if you search you could find some very tasty ones. (And remember, the fruit is weighed as you are leaving, so there is no charge for anything you eat right off the tree :-) You definitely have to walk among the trees to get the best fruit, but its good exercise. Not much zucchini yet, and they were small too. That will change.
It looks like they will have A LOT of pears and apples later in the season. Especially pears. I also noticed some plums that were almost ripe, but not quite.
I stick to my earlier opinion that it looks slightly untended. Several people commented while picking that the plants looked thirsty (especially the zucchini). Well, it has been a dry spring, so maybe some extra watering is called for.
Given the proximity to my house and the pleasure of wandering around in the early am and admiring the views of the mountains, I'll be back. I might wait a few weeks until more fruit varieties are available. I would definitely recommend going early; it does get crowded and early means its a little less hot.....
A lot of variety is ripe there now. Zucchinis are still big (literally). They also have a few baby eggplant plants tucked away among the zucchini...worth the search. They are selling some very good canteloupes by the exit, and we also picked a few cucumbers yesterday. I ate a few plums but didn't take any home. The lady taking entrance money said the pears weren't ready yet, but I found one.....
Two things of note: the Golden Delicious apples are doing very well, and they are very good. I usually don't like this variety, but these are great. Taste like honey but not mushy.
But the real reason to go is for the tomatoes, which are starting to ripen. But a caveat: I think half the taco places in town send someone out first thing in the morning to look for tomatoes for salsa. (I'm assuming that the folks are coming from taco stands, as they speak Spanish and are picking WAY too many tomatoes for a single family). So, if you arrive even as early as nine am the tomatoes have already been picked over. But if you arrive around opening at seven you will be rewarded with the best tomatoes I've eaten since I got to Vegas....and you will also not suffer in the heat. Worth getting up early for....