We’re open!

The 2017 apple season has begun! Like last year, the barn is open from noon to 5 PM, Wednesday through Sunday (closed Monday and Tuesday). Please note, we are a rustic farm stand! We haven’t changed many operations over the past 30 years. This means we can provide our apples at a fair price… This also means our apple barn has a gravel floor and we are a CASH ONLY business!

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Unloading Gala from the farm truck. Taggart’s Orchard, 2017.

We currently have Gala, Paula Red and Ginger Gold apples, as well as local peaches. We also have a selection of jams and jellies from Amish country. Fresh cider won’t be available for another week or two – cider apples must be harvested and processed first.

These cool nights we’ve been having recently will help color and ripen our later varieties. Fingers crossed! Hope to see you at the orchard soon!

–The Taggart Family

 

“Official” Taggart’s Applesauce

Available at the orchard this week: Gala, Macoun, Spartan & Cortland. 

(Empire could mature as early as this weekend – please call the orchard for the most up-to-date list of what’s ripe)

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One of the most common questions we hear at our apple stand is “What’s the best cooking apple?” Our answer is “Any apple makes for a good cooking apple”!  It’s true!

With the exception of Red Delicious, which is strictly a snacking apple, any of our varieties would work just fine in your pies, crisps, cobblers, breads and sauces.  Sure, there might be a few qualities to consider: A firmer apple will hold its shape better in a pie and a tarter apple might be a better choice in recipes with added sugar.  But don’t over think it!

In our homes, we simply use what we have on hand – more often than not it’s a mixture of varieties.  Keeping that in mind, we’d like to share the “official” Taggart applesauce method!

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  1. Gather your apples. This batch contained Gala, Macintosh, Ginger Gold, Cortland and Empire (whatever you have on hand).
  2. Peel, core and slice – no need to chop or dice!
  3. Place in a slow cooker.
  4. Heat on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

That’s it!

I prefer my sauce with a chunkier, rustic texture – I simply stir the cooked mixture with a spoon and call it a day.  Alternatively, you could use a blender for a smoother puree.  I typically keep mine sugar free but feel free to add sugar and/or cinnamon to taste.  It’s ready to eat, store in the fridge or freeze!

Enjoy!

 

 

Cider has Arrived!

TGIF, apple lovers!

This weekend we have apple cider in stock, as well as Gala and Ginger Gold apples.  As we move into mid-September we’ll be harvesting additional varieties.  Give the orchard a call to check on the availability of your favorite.

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We also have a selection of Amish-style preserves, snacks and  apple and pumpkin butters.  New in 2016: Apple syrup!  Give it a try on waffles or apple pancakes!

Hope to see you at the orchard soon!

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apple salsa | fruit preserves | pumpkin & apple butters

 

Opening Day 2016

Hello, apple lovers!  Do these hot, humid days having you looking forward to fall yet?  While most of our apples need a few more weeks on the trees until they’re ready for harvest, the barn doors will be opening on Wednesday, August 31.

Our seasonal hours are noon to 5 PM, Wednesday through Sunday.

We’re looking forward to see you this year!

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End of the Season: November 8

November is here, and all our apples have been harvested.  Since we lack long-term apple storage, we only sell fruit fresh from the tree.  Therefore, our last day of the 2015 season will be Sunday, November 8.

This week we have (while supplies last!):

Red Delicious: Sweet and crunchy.  Great for snacking and salads.

Golden Delicious: Perfect for snacking and baking, sauce-making.

Melrose: Similar to a Gala or Jonagold. Juicy and sweet, but not too sweet.

Ida Red: The tartest apple we have now. Ideal for holiday pies!

Speaking of the holidays, our fresh apples should keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.  If you’re thinking about making an apple pie for Thanksgiving, make one last trip to the orchard to stock up!  We also have jams and local honey, which make a nice host/hostess gift.

Here are the last of our throwback photos, as we wrap up our 30th anniversary year:

Have you ever wondered how a commercial apple washer works? Or what one looks like?  Oh, you haven’t?!  Well, let us show you ours, anyway!

1990 | Kermit operates the new apple washer.

1990 | Kermit operates the new apple washer.

The apples are brought into a tunnel where they are rinsed clean with spring water – very similar to a car wash!  They are gently scrubbed with the white sponge rollers; then buffed with the black brush rollers.  At the end they roll into a padded collection area where we inspect and sort each one.

1995 | Taggart grandchildren pick apples.

1995 | Taggart grandchildren pick apples.

While this photo might have been a “tiny” bit staged – with their matching Taggart sweatshirts and decorative baskets – Taggart’s is very much a family business.  Four generations of Taggarts now live and work on the family farm.  And if you visit the barn during the week, you may have met our dear neighbor, Carol, who assists with sales.  Other than a few extra friends who have helped with large harvests – that’s it!

2015 | welcome to the orchard

2015 | welcome to the orchard

Thank you for supporting local agriculture this year.  We hope to see you this week and check our Facebook and Instagram during the off-season for a preview of the 2016 apple crop!

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October Apples

We have quite a selection of apples this week!

Golden (Yellow) Delicious are here!  This is popular eating apple is the sweetest variety we have at the moment.

We also have Cortland apples: tart and great for baking.  Many folks enjoy snacking on them, too.

Empire and Spartan varieties are a mix of sweet and tart.  Empire are naturally a smaller sized apple, making them perfect for lunch boxes.  Both would make great pies and sauce, too.

Empire apples

Empire apples

We are expecting Red Delicious and Jonagold to be ready this weekend, but please call ahead to check.  Apples reach their peak at slightly different times each year due to the weather.  We won’t sell them until they’re ready!

Of course, we have more 30th Anniversary photos and memories to share with you!  The doors to the apple barn in opened in 1985, and as you can see we have preserved the “historical integrity” of the structure!  Not much has changed in 30 years!

1987 | Taggart's Orchard apple barn - looks remarkably similar today!

1987 | Taggart’s Orchard apple barn – looks remarkably similar today!

Kermit and Louise Taggart operated the orchard by themselves until their daughter, Nancy, and husband John returned to the family farm in 1989. Nancy and John (Tilley) have assumed more orchard duties in recent years as they have both retired from careers in non-profit fundraising and banking, respectively.

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1989 | He may not be a Taggart by birth, but John has proven himself useful over the years 🙂

While the first Taggart apple trees were planted in 1983, we continued to add to the orchard through the 80s and early 90s.  You can see immature trees and their stakes in the background of the photo below:

1989 | Kermit and Louise pose by a new section of orchard.

1989 | Kermit and Louise pose by a new section of orchard.

Some of these trees have ended their useful life and have been removed from the orchard in recent years.  However, we are making plans to replant to continue growing and selling apples!  Stay tuned!

1987 | Katelyn, a grand-daughter of Kerm and Louise, gets her first taste of agriculture (literally!) and makes plans to run the farm one day!

Autumn has arrived!

Happy first day of fall to you all! The sun is shining this morning at the orchard and the nights are nice and cool. Perfect sleeping weather and perfect conditions for apple ripening!

We’re starting out this week with Gala and Spartan varieties. Gala, a sweet apple with unique red-orange color, and Spartan, slightly tart, are great for eating and baking. Make sure to check out our Amish-made preserves, snacks, cider and local honey, too.

apple salsa | fruit preserves | pumpkin & apple butters

apple salsa | fruit preserves | pumpkin & apple butters

Other varieties, such as Golden/Yellow Delicious, will be coming soon.  Check the website/facebook or call ahead for details.  We always appreciate a call-ahead for large orders (a bushel or more).

2015 harvest

2015 harvest

Did you know 2015 is the 30th anniversary of the Taggart’s “apple barn”?  The barn itself was constructed by Kermit and his father in the 1950s and housed Angus, rather than apples, for many years.  Kermit and Louise returned to the family farm land in 1983 and planted their first orchard.

1983: prepping the soil for the first Taggart's apple trees

1983: prepping the soil for the first Taggart’s apple trees

Apple trees require a few years to mature and bear fruit. 1985 marked the first measurable harvest, and apples were sold in the barn for the first time! Aside from new paint and minor repairs here and there, our barn is very much the same as it was 30 years ago. We’re very proud of our rustic “store front” and family farm, and hope you’ll enjoy a trip out to the country to see us soon!

1985: Kermit & Louise Taggart with their first apple crop.

1985: Kermit & Louise Taggart with their first apple crop.

We will be sharing more flashback photos throughout the season, as we celebrate 30 years of sharing our apples with you.