Apples ripe for picking at local orchard

CHAD PLAUCHE-ADKINS The Marietta Times Ripened apples are ready to pick at Hidden Hills Orchard on Thursday.

A vista of rolling hills lined with heavily fruited apple trees greet each visitor to Hidden Hills Orchard located a few miles north of Marietta on Ohio 26. A bustle of activity is present around the orchard as workers pick, sort and bag the delicious orbs. Tom and Cathy Burch gave up the normal nine to five existence in 2011 so they could pursue their passion for providing people with fruit that tickles their fancy.

“We have 22 varieties of apples for people,” said Cathy. “They are available from late August to late October. Honey Crisp is the most popular apple we have.”

It’s so popular in fact that the orchard is sold out of that variety for the year.

“We encourage people to call before coming out,” Cathy said. “We have a recording that will tell people what apples are available. People come all the way from Charleston to see us. It would be horrible to come all that way and not get what you want.”

Popularity isn’t the only reason the orchard is running out of their harvest.

CHAD PLAUCHE-ADKINS The Marietta Times Tom Burch fills his bag with apples Thursday at Hidden Hills Orchard just north of Marietta.

“We had a very late freeze in April and a really hot summer,” explained Cathy “They both helped us to have a smaller harvest. We’re down about 40 percent from a normal year.”

The orchard is open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m..

“We put out shelves kind of in a horse shoe and put our prepackaged apples on them for people to buy,” said Tom.

Visitors also have the opportunity to pick their own apples in the orchard. Walking through the orchard they will see rows of different varieties of apple trees in different stages of development. There are three different types of apples available currently for guests to pick: the Cameo, Enterprise and Gold Rush.

The seven-acre orchard has 5,200 producing trees that provide fruit not only for customers at the orchard, but students at Ohio University and Marietta College. The orchard was selling its apples at Giant Eagle as well, but the smaller harvest kept them from doing it this year, said Chatty.

The orchard offers other apple based products to include cider, butter, salsa, and no sugar added sauce.

“It takes 100 bushels of apples to make 300 gallons of cider,” said Tom.

If you go:

•What : Apple picking at Hidden Hills Orchard.

•Where: Approximately five miles north of Marietta on Ohio 26.

•When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

•Note: Please call 740-376-9170 for availability.