Sunday, October 12, 2008
Concerning Apple Farms
Well, Kinsey and I had a very fun and interesting outing this past Friday with our friends the Kempers. They took us to historic Lexington, MO to buy apples at one of the many apple orchards in that area. I didn't even need any apples, but from many of my childhood memories, buying apples isn't even the point of going to the apple orchard.
So that day I dressed Kinsey up in some cute clothes and packed my life into a diaper bag for the day, and we headed out mid morning. The drive was very scenic and beautiful. If it weren't for all the hills, I would have thought I was back in Illinois with all the corn and bean fields.
Then we get to the apple orchard. Note: this is my second apple orchard experience since moving to Kansas City two years ago. The first was a major disappointment, nothing but a tiny building on the edge of an apple orchard. We didn't even go into the orchard, they already had all the apples picked right there for you to buy.
And this new orchard was no different. It was again, just a small building where there were stacks and stacks of apples and apple products. I was so bummed out. No pony ride, no playground with a sand pit complete with mini tractors to dig with, no goats and livestock to feed, no corn maze, no pumpkin patch, no gift shop that smells like cinnamon and sugar.
There are two apple orchards in my home town of Peoria, IL, one is called Apple Blossom and is the newer of the two, and the other is an icon of fall in our area, Tanner's Orchard. I will soon be traveling home, and I have requested a trip to Tanner's with the Grandmas, so you will be sure to see pictures of a real apple orchard experience, but let me tell you a bit of what it is like.
First off, you walk into Tanner's and you are met by a two big barrels mounted in the wall, with spigots that you can taste test fresh made cider that is ice cold. Then the smell of Cinnamon apples and candles and popcorn hits you, and you see all the fine crafts and knickknacks. Lots of dried flower arrangements, pumpkins and gourds painted and dried, and candles, lots of candles - all for sale, of course. Then you moved down through the building and come to the actual apple section, where you can buy pre-picked apples, then as you move further down the building you come to the bakery, where they have fresh apple doughnuts that are still warm, and apple pies and all other things that you can make from apples and fruits and honey.
Then you head out the other end of the building and you come to the fun part. There are barns that have goats and other animals, and you feed them and they are as friendly as can be. Beyond that is the pony ride and the playground. In the playground is a sand pit (at least there use to be) that has mini tractors you sit on and can dig in the sand with. Then on further you can enter the corn maze. They also have a pumpkin patch where you can pick your own pumpkin, and a spot where you load up into a truck to go out in the apple orchard and pick your own apples.
It is quite the experience! So you can see now why these Kansas City ones are such a drag comparatively. Still, it was quite enjoyable to be with our friends the Kempers. We did see the site of the Civil War Battle of Lexington, and we ate at a Mexican restaurant and toured a local antique shop.
So overall, it was a good trip, but still, I think someone needs to tell these orchards that there is more that can be done to draw in the crowds. If they changed, I would go back, but as it is, I doubt I will make the trip to Lexington again just to buy apples.