There is no denying it, autumn has arrived to the Mid-Ohio Valley.
The air is a little cooler, a gentle, amber haze is starting to overtake the trees, and you can smell fall all around you. And while many minds are moving towards all things pumpkin, I can’t help but to crave some delicious, fall apple goodness. I didn’t want to simply go to the super market and buy my apples though. I wanted a seasonal experience. This began my search for an apple orchard, within a reasonable distance, to go apple picking. I was thrilled to discover that we have a sensational apple orchard, right here in the valley. So I called a couple of friends as we decided to make a day of it.
Hidden Hills Orchard, previously known as Grimm’s Green Acres, has been located in Marietta, OH since 1998, and is much more than just a local farm– it’s a destination. As you turn off of Route 26 you are instantly taken back by the beauty of rolling hills, the shimmering pond, rows and rows of trees, quaint farm house, and the sweet waft of apple in the air. It was instantly clear to me that this is not simply a source of income for these farmers, this is a love affair. My suspicions were confirmed when I met Tom and Cathy, the current owners. While they grew up in Ohio, they have spent most of their adult life in Houston, Texas where Tom was a geophysicist and Cathy was a full-time mom. In talking with this couple Tom told me that he had always wanted to be an apple farmer and Cathy shared that she had always wanted to restore an old farm house. So, in 2010, when they found Grimm’s for sale on the internet, Tom decided to take early retirement and return home to fulfill his & Cathy’s dream and Hidden Hills was born!
And while this is a great story, it is the quality of farm that Tom and Cathy have work to create that is truly noteworthy. They are raising the standards at Hidden Hills by operating a completely sustainable farm. Some examples of this include the 72 solar panels on the side of the cider house that provide the farm’s power, eliminating the use of organophosphates, and a drip system irrigation using the pond water located on the property– just to name a few.
All of this effort shines through in their product as well. The apples I picked were some of the best I have ever tasted and the cider, which is made on site, is phenomenal. As a food blogger I was so inspired that I immediately went home to create a delicious recipe using all of the produce I had purchased that day. It’s a little nod to the “pork chop and applesauce” if you will, but worthy of the ingredients Hidden Hills gave me.
Apple Cider Roasted Pork Shoulder
*Prep-Time: 15 minutes *Cook Time: 4 hours *Difficulty: Easy *Servings: 6-8
- 1 3 lb. Pork Shoulder (I purchase at Point Place Market)
- 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 apples, peeled and sliced
- 1 large minced onion
- 2 cups apple cider
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Place oil in a Dutch oven or deep skillet and set over medium/high heat.
- Rub the pork shoulder with rosemary, salt and pepper.
- Place flour on plate and coat the pork shoulder, turning until completely coated.
- Brown the pork shoulder on all sides.
- Place the pork shoulder on a rack set into a roasting pan, and bake in a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add onions, apples and garlic to the pan you browned the pork in, cook until lightly colored and glassy.
- Add the cider and chicken stock, and reduce by half.
- Pour this mixture into the bottom of the roasting pan.
- Place the roast into the 450 degree oven, uncovered.
- Turn the oven down to 300 degrees and cook for about 3 1/2 hours.
- Place pork on a serving platter to let it rest.
- Place the roasting pan over a medium-high burner on the stove and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Season the sauce with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of apple cider vinegar.
- Slice the roast and serve with the pan juices spooned over.
Hidden Hills Orchard is located at 5680 State Route 26 Marietta, OH 45750
The hours of operation are Friday & Saturday 10am – 6pm and Sunday 12pm – 6pm