On a lovely day in the spring of 2000, Shannon and David Anderson were out for a drive through the Emmett Valley when they came across a beautiful blooming orchard for sale. It was love at first sight as they envisioned raising their young family among the trees. They didn’t know anything about maintaining the orchard of 315 trees, both Oregon Red Delicious and Golden Delicious, but they felt living in an orchard would provide the family a beautiful place to live and give their three children the opportunity to develop a good work ethic.
Within the first two years, they built a home on the property and realized caring for the orchard was a lot harder than they expected. When they purchased the orchard, their oldest son was 8, so the kids were helping with the work all through their childhood. Even the family dogs have learned to jump up and pick apples. All the dogs eat apples and toss them around for fun.
“My kids don’t even like apples anymore; they have had apple overload," Shannon says. "Taking care of our orchard and yard has become our leisure activity and how we spend our time when we are not at 'work.'”
The Andersons both have full-time jobs and are lucky to make their costs back each year from the sale of the apples.
“We sell apples for the pure enjoyment of providing fruit and a fun experience for people,” she says.
Five years ago, they had the biggest crop they had ever produced. On a good year, they have never been picked out, so they decided to open the orchard for service opportunities. Organizations and families are encouraged to pick free apples to donate to the local food bank. Another way they give back to the community is by offering field trips on Fridays. Shannon enjoys teaching kids about running the orchard and all about apples. To schedule a field trip, call in advance. The calendar fills up quickly.
After a fun-filled day picking apples you may be wondering what to do with all the fresh fruit. As an expert at using apples in nearly everything, Shannon has some suggestions. Fresh apples can be used in salads, or as topping for oatmeal, yogurt or desserts. You can process apples by drying apple slices, making applesauce, juicing for apple cider or bottling pie filling. Recipes including baked apples include pies, crisps, pancakes and Shannon’s famous cinnamon caramel apple cheesecake. Mini cheesecakes can be purchased throughout the season at the orchard. Locals say the cheesecakes are well worth the trip.
What to Bring
–Bags or boxes to take your fruit home
–Weather-appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes
–A camera to preserve those fun memories
–Cash or check—they do not accept credit cards
What to Expect
–You can pick plenty of apples in as little as 30 minutes.
–They provide baskets to use while you pick.
–You can eat as many free apples as you want while picking; pay only for what you take away.
–No need for a ladder; apples are within reach!
–Apples are 75 cents a pound.
–Mini caramel apple cheesecakes are $2.
–Soft-serve ice cream is also for sale.
1877 W. South Slope Road, Emmett, Idaho, 208.695.9741, AndersonAppleRanch.com