One of the things I love the most about working for Clutch MOV is finding things in my own back yard that I never knew existed.
My favorite apple in the whole world is the Honeycrisp apple. I discovered this at the Marietta, Ohio Giant Eagle, a few years ago. I remembered seeing a sign about the apples being local and thought that was cool, but I never went deeper than that. Just recently, I discovered this same orchard (also based in Marietta) allows you to pick your own apples from a variety of six, including my favorite Honeycrisp variety. I knew I had to take my family along with me to experience this for themselves.
Tucked away from town, but less than five miles from Marietta’s Pike Street, the Mid-Ohio Valley houses Hidden Hills Orchard. With over 5,000 dwarf apple trees on site and at least 20 varieties of apples to choose from (plus seasonal peaches and cherries), Hidden Hills is absolutely a local treasure for apple lovers.
Never been there before? No problem. Tom and Cathy are two of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and will walk you through directions over the phone if you get lost (yes I did, and yes, they were wonderfully patient and helpful). Once you arrive, you might be greeted by their resident bulldogs Bentley and Lola, with whom we fell madly in love. Tom and Cathy will gladly guide a newbie through the process -picking out the size bag (or bags) you’d like to fill, pointing out the trees you’ll be picking from and will even make kind suggestions as to how to best pick your apples so it’s nice to the tree and other fruit that you’re not picking for yourself. My three year old was harvesting like a champ after their lesson – and she had so much fun – she was dancing in the aisles. If it was up to her, we would have stayed maybe all night. But once our bags were full (we filled two bags easily, in less than an hour), we headed back up to purchase what we’d picked.
Back in the Hidden Hills market, you’ll also find apple salsa, apple butter and applesauce made from the orchard’s own trees. If you’re unsure as to what kind of apple is the best fit for your taste buds, be sure to stop by the sample stations in the market before you begin. And by late September, a trip for the orchard’s award-winning apple cider will be worth the trek alone.
Not necessarily needing Honeycrisp apples, but interested in either picking your own food as a family, group of friends, a date or as a peaceful excursion by yourself all while supporting local farmers? Different apples are ready for eating and picking at varied times from summer through early fall through their own market, your local farmers’ markets and Marietta Giant Eagle.
Those who wish to pick their own apples can do so on weekends, beginning late August of each year through October. On a staggered schedule, six different varieties are available for “U-Pick” (Buckeye Gala, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, Cameo, Enterprise and Gold Rush), as well as a variety of apples being available pre-picked in the Hidden Hills market. Check their Facebook page for currently available apples in their market (or for more information on the orchard, itself), and for “U-Pick” varieties and dates/times. The Hidden Hills market and “U-Pick” are open Fridays to Sundays.
If Honeycrisp apples do happen to also be your favorite (like they are, mine), and you’d like to pick some from local, MOV orchard trees, you’re in luck. There should still be enough to pick over the weekend of the 11th. Their projected schedule notes that their Honeycrisp apples are usually ready to pick by early September, with other varieties available before and after those dates. To me, the only thing better than that Honeycrisp flavor is eating one straight from the tree. You could do that for yourself at Hidden Hills Orchard, this coming weekend.