No Bad Apples
Ever hear of an antique apple?
You can learn all about antique apples -– and even taste one -– at Doud Orchards, a family-owned operation in business near the Miami County town of Denver since Lorenzo Doud opened it in 1894. But the apples aren’t the only heirloom offering at Doud’s. The orchard operates out of a collection of vintage buildings spanning more than a century of history.
Visitors make their way into the orchard’s shop past a 1940s tile barn sporting a bright red apple motif on its green shingle roof. The shop is housed in two buildings -– well a building within a building, really.
At the heart of the shop is a brick schoolhouse –- built by the Douds and another local family in 1883. Today, the school is wrapped in a nineteenth-century barn reassembled on the property in the 1980s. The shop is stocked with popcorn, apple butter, candies, honey, baked goods, pumpkins, and a positively mind-boggling assortment of apples.
The orchard features 150 varieties of apples, including antique varieties like Ashmead’s Kernel (firm and tart) and Newtown Pippin (smooth and sweet), growing on 9,000 trees. During harvest season from mid-summer through October, you can see workers busily sorting and grading the fruit using an ingenious 1908 sorting machine, which tumbles apples of different sizes along a conveyor belt into appropriate bins. The smallest apples are reserved and pressed for cider on vintage equipment in the tile barn.
The orchard launches its schedule of fall events the weekend of September 22-23 with “Cider Weekend,” when visitors can taste the first pressings of cider and sample the orchard’s newest varieties of apples, including “Sagittarius,” the first in the orchard’s new line of Zodiac Sign apples. Originated by the Doud family, the variety features the best qualities of Honeycrisp and Fuji apples — sweet, crispy, and juicy.
Visit Doud Orchards at 8971 North State Road 19, in Denver, IN. You can also call 765-985-3937, or go to www.doudorchard.com.
If you can’t make the trip to Denver, you can find Doud Orchards apples at the Wabash Farmers’ Market, held in the Honeywell Center’s parking lot 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. every Saturday through October 20.
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