All things apple: Head to the Hill
October 17, 2007
For those who can’t get enough apples – whether as an ingredient in baked goods or still hanging on the tree – Apple Hill is the place to visit.
Apple Hill refers to a group of orchards and other businesses in the Camino area near Placerville, Calif., who have gathered together as the Apple Hill Growers Association. The organization started in 1964 with 16 members and now lists 55.
Wineries, a brewery, pumpkin patches, Christmas tree farms and even a spa are part of the mix.
But this time of year, apples are the focus.
“October weekends are the peak,” said Ann Wofford, executive director of the growers association, who recommended that those visiting Apple Hill this month come on a weekday.
Although the association doesn’t have exact numbers, hundreds of thousands of people visit between Labor Day and Christmas, Wofford said.
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The popularity of Apple Hill reflects a growing interest in agri-tourism, according to Sue Russell, director of tourism for the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce. Agri-tourism refers to attractions such as working farms where one can help milk the cows, or in the case of Apple Hill, opportunities to pick apples and watch them being processed.
“People want to have the hands-on experience and they want it to be educational,” Russell said. “Agri-tourism is huge.”
With this year’s “huge crop” of apples, and fall foliage that’s reaching its peak colors, visitors are flocking to Apple Hill, said Maryann Argyres, president of the growers association.
Argyres believes the growing popularity of Apple Hill is built on the success of its ranchers.
“Success breeds success,” she said. “You’re doing it for the love of farming.”
“We will always be Apple Hill. It’s a lifestyle.”
When customers tell her how much fun they’re having picking apples, Argyres says she feels “satisfied of being where I am and doing what I’m doing.”
If you go
To get to the Apple Hill area from Carson City:
Take Highway 50 through South Lake Tahoe and
continue toward Placerville.
The Apple Hill area exits are 48 through 52. The Apple Hill shuttle is located off the Schnell School exit, No. 48.
On the Net
For information and a map of participating orchards, visit the growers association Web site at: http://www.applehill.com
Apple Hill Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine 2 cups sugar, 1Ú2 cup oil and 2 eggs.
Add 4 cups diced apples.
Sift together 2 cups flour, 1 tsp. salt, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 2 tsp. baking soda.
Add dry ingredients to apple mixture.
Pour into 9-by-13-inch greased cake pan and bake for one hour in a preheated 350 degree oven.
– Source: Apple Hill Growers Association