short path surrounded by a forest of oak, cherry and maple leads to rows and rows of verdant trees lush with green and red-tinted fruit. A plastic bag folded under my arm, I pass rows with wooden signs designating the variety of apple – Sweet Sixteen, Honeycrisp, Macoun and more than a dozen more. I hear distant voices and follow them to the row of apples I’ve come to pick at charming Peck & Bushel Fruit Co.
in Colgate, a community west of Germantown in Washington County.
The 8-year-old organic orchard, which has grown from 3,000 trees in its first year to nearly 30,000 trees now, is the brainchild of Joe and Jennifer Fahey. Joe’s entry to orcharding started in the Faheys’ own backyard, with trees he planted and tended as a hobby. There, he worked through the challenges of organic fruit production (humid summers, insects), but he faced them in a larger scope when they bought the Colgate property.
$28 per peck for 2018
Open through mid- to late October
5454 County Road Q
Joe serves as full-time orchardist, aided by the extended Fahey family, members of which you’ll see serving warm, sugar-coated cider doughnuts and making caramel apples when the orchard is open (Sat-Sun only, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.). Jennifer’s touch is evident throughout the orchard’s modern-meets-rustic barn, where she spent a recent Saturday morning pouring samples of tart-sweet cider made with late-summer Williams’ Pride apples.
Bags of picked apples are offered for sale in the barn, along with honeys (some from Peck & Bushel’s bees), apple butter, jams, candles and decorative gift items. Buying pre-bagged apples is convenient, but it doesn’t compare to drinking in the fresh, naturally perfumed air and tramping through the orchard rows, plucking fruit off the branches. And don’t miss the on-site bakery’s flaky slab apple pie, apple-walnut bars and wonderful light cake doughnuts.
Time to get the doughnuts
Warm, fresh fall apple cider doughnuts! There’s nothing like them. Here’s where to get some prime specimens:
12246 N. Farmdale Road
36116 128th St.
1545 Main St.
5454 County Road Q
Apple Tasting Notes
In October, look for these unusual – and wonderful – varietals at Peck & Bushel:
ATTRIBUTES: Bright blush-red color
FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Delicately tart and spicy but sweet, juicy and very crisp
HOW TO USE: A perfect eating apple
ATTRIBUTES: Green to yellow with red striping; round to conical shape
FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Very sweet and crunchy
HOW TO USE: Eating out of hand or served with sharp cheeses; baked in crisps and pies
ATTRIBUTES: Yellow streaked with red
FLAVOR AND TEXTURE: Tangy-sweet with a spicy bite (smacks of cinnamon); crisp
HOW TO USE: Eating out of hand; served sliced with a creamy dip; made into applesauce, baked apples
“Garden of Eden” appears in the October 2018 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.
Find it on newsstands beginning Oct. 1, or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.
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