— Josh Billings
It ain’t just apples folks
Last week I joined a small group for a short tour of the Camino and Pollock Pines areas. It was sponsored by the Apple Hill Grower’s Association and we spent almost four hours visiting a half-dozen different kitchens, bakeries, orchards, tree farms, vineyards, wineries and breweries, before returning to the starting place and being treated to a fantastic lunch at Larsen’s Apple Barn (the food was delicious and the desserts were heavenly — yes, they sell them in the bake shop).
The first stop was at Harris Tree Farm, on Blair Road in Pollock Pines. Sure, they sell Christmas trees, but they also raise fruit and vegetables that are sold there and at various farmers markets. They also have a pumpkin patch and a bake shop. The Harris family has owned that land for over 150 years. The farm is open daily, June through December. For more information call 530-644-2194.
Next we toured the Fudge Factory Farm, which is on High Hill Road. Not only do the candy chefs make fudge and a lot of other candies, they use the fruit they grow in a lot of the candy and also sell the fruit fresh. There is also a bake shop and Christmas tree farm. The farm is open daily, Labor day through mid-December. For more information call 530-644-3492.
A little further down the same road was Cardanini’s Pumpkin Patch. The Cardaninis have acres of various kinds of pumpkins planted, including both those for carving and eating. There is also Indian corn for decorating. The farm is open the month of October for pick-your-own pumpkins, a real treat for the whole family. For more information call 530-644-2140.
At the end of that road is Madroña Vineyards. One of the older family owned wineries in the county, it is known for the many varietals of medal winning wines from the estate grown grapes. We tasted several outstanding wines and learned about the winery. It is open daily all year. For more information call 530-644-5948.
Next we stopped at Able’s Apple Acres, which is at the corner of Carson and Hassler roads. The donuts and apple fritters, along with the many kinds of apple pies, are famous, and the kitchen crew bakes a lot more things. It was packed with people, but we still received a great tour of the kitchen, and even an apple pie to take home. It is open daily, Labor Day through Christmas Eve. For more information call 530-626-0138.
Heading north on Hassler to Fruitridge Road, we visited Lava Cap Winery, another of the county’s older family owned wineries that makes outstanding wines. We were short of time, so we didn’t tour the winery, but we did get a taste of some really great wines. It is open daily. For more information call 530-621-0175.
The final stop was Jack Russell Farm Brewery on Larsen Drive. Not only does the brewery make a number of outstanding brews, recently the owners have started making mead (honey wine) and other wines. Check out the new wine and mead tasting room around back. It is open daily. For more information call 530-647-9420.
From there is was just a short drive back to Larsen Apple Barn for lunch, which I mentioned before, was wonderful. All of the wineries, and the brewery, sent goodies for us to have with our meal.
Larsen Apple Barn is located a the corner of Larsen Drive and North Canyon Road and not only sells apples and other fruit, but has a wonderful bake shop and museum. It is open Labor Day to mid-December, closed on Saturday. For more information call 530-644-8166.
Take a trip to Apple Hill, preferably during the week when the crowds are smaller, and enjoy fresh fruit, baked goods, wines, beers and fun. The outing is great for kids. There are over 50 growers and producers that are members of the Apple Hill Association. For a map or more information, visit any of the places with the “Apple Hill Grower” sign, visit applehill.com or call 530-644-7692.
Shuttle service from two locations will be available the first four weekends of October.