Some, maybe even most couples, envision retirement as a time for some rest and relaxation. Sure, they may travel. They may buy that extra home in Fort Lauderdale. They may take up some new hobbies or lavish gifts upon grandchildren. It’s pretty safe to say that running a fully functional orchard does not match how most people would define R&R. Well, you clearly haven’t met Tom and Cathy Burch.
The Burches purchased Hidden Hills Orchard in 2010. The orchard was first established in 1999. Sustainability runs at the core of the business (you knew there had to be at least one of those puns in an orchard article, right?) according to Cathy, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing at the Farmer’s Market on Front Street. “Our packing house runs completely on solar energy,” she reported. “We only spray based on problems, too. Only when it’s necessary.”
Hidden Hills offers 22 varieties of apples, including Honeycrisp, which is their most popular. Right now they are looking for help in getting everything picked and packed. The work schedule is Monday-Thursday, full days. They will also be hosting “You Pick” days starting August 26th. “You can come Friday, Saturday, or Sunday till October to pick your own fruit,” Cathy told me. “You can sample whatever you want, too. If it’s ripe, you can try it!”
Cathy also told me she is already starting to gather apples to make her delicious apple cider, which Hidden Hills will start to sell in mid-September. You don’t need pumpkin spice lattes when you have home-grown fresh apple cider to drink!
I asked Cathy what she feels separates Hidden Hills from other orchards and farms in the Mid-Ohio Valley. Apart from a dedication to sustainable practices, she said that the fact the farm is family-owned helps make a difference. The effort to get to know every customer helps to create loyalty, and good customer service keep people coming.
Hidden Hills Orchard is about five miles north of Marietta on 26. You can learn more about them on their website and Facebook page.