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Embrace fall with an apple-picking visit to Peck & Bushel’s organic orchard in Washington County.

A 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. 

Pick-your-own

$28 per peck for 2018

Open through mid- to late October

5454 County Road Q
414-418-0336

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.

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Time to get the doughnuts

Warm, fresh fall apple cider doughnuts! There’s nothing like them. Here’s where to get some prime specimens:

Barthel Fruit Farm

12246 N. Farmdale Road
Mequon
262-242-2737

Harvest Time Orchards

36116 128th St.
Twin Lakes
262-877-4831

Elegant Farmer

1545 Main St.
Mukwonago
262-363-6770

Peck & Bushel

5454 County Road Q
Colgate
414-418-0336


Apple Tasting Notes

In October, look for these unusual – and wonderful – varietals at Peck & Bushel:

Crimson-crisp

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

Pazazz

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

Crimson topaz

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.

Be the first to get every new issue. Subscribe.

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