Located just a few miles off Interstate 10 in Willcox, Brown’s Orchard has been
the home of heirloom apple and pear trees for almost 50 years. Mr. Brown, who built the orchard in 1963, tended the trees for more than 35 years. In 1998, he sold the farm to June Windstein, who looked past the overgrown trees and saw only the potential to restore vitality to this wonderful orchard.
Brown’s Orchard is known as much for its pears as it is for its apples. The farm produces four different kinds of pears, Bartlett, Starking Delicious, which ripen in August, and D’Anjou, and Bosc, which will be ready for picking in September. Apple season at the Orchard also begins in early August with Gala, Early Blaze, and Yellow Transparent varieties ripening on the trees. Come September, the other nine types of apples grown at the Orchard will be available for picking. If you are looking for fresh heirloom fruit that is grown without chemicals, herbicides, or fungicides, head over to Wilcox with your bucket or bag.
This is a special year for the Orchard, according to June, as it is the first time they have had fruit in 4 years. One of the biggest challenges an orchard faces is a late frost which kills the newly budding fruit and leaves the trees barren for the whole season. This year, June used some creative solutions and time-tested techniques to protect the pears and apples when the final frost endangered them. Before winter, the trees were pruned and the dead branches were stacked here and there throughout the orchard. In the spring, when the final round of frost threatened the crop, they used the stacks of branches to light controlled fires throughout the orchard, warming the trees enough to protect the new forming fruit.
Despite the hard work and frequent disappointments of a fruitless season, June loves being a farmer and is particularly fond of the impact the orchard can have on her visitors. She loves interacting with people who haven’t been apple-picking since their childhood and who are transported back to cherished memories of time spent with grandparents and family. There is something special, from June’s perspective, in seeing someone pick fruit from a tree for the first time, in watching as they get to experience the harvest of their own food.
In addition to U-pick pears and apples, June offers all cuts of grass-fed lamb, sweet fresh-pressed apple cider, and an experience that is sure to leave you with a lasting memory. There are picnic tables in the orchard which provide the picture perfect setting for a picnic lunch. Brown’s Orchard is open for U-pick from 8 to 5, Thursday thru Sunday and there is no individual charge for entrance. A minimum purchase of a 2 gallon bucket of apples or pears is required for a fee of $12.50. June is offering a special two-for-one deal during the 2011 harvest. Buy one 5 gallon bucket of apples or pears for $25.00 and get a second 5 gallon for free. Bring the family out for a fun day of picnicking and fruit picking and give your children or grandchildren their own cherished memory of time spent skipping through the orchard and eating apples right off the tree.
Here’s a great recipe from June:
Apple Cider Syrup
Take 1 gallon of apple cider and put it in a large thick bottom pot, boil on high heat, making sure to stir the apple cider often so it doesn’t burn. Boil on high till the apple cider becomes thick like honey. Use on pancakes, vanilla ice cream or on anything you would use syrup on. It is sweet from the natural sugar in the apples so no need to add any sugar.
Brown’s Orchard is located at 5774 N. Atwood Drive in Wilcox, AZ 85643. You can reach the orchard by phone at (520)384-3671, email email@example.com or on the internet at http://www.youpickapples.com/index.htm.