It's that time of year once again where apples are the big stars of the season.
Midwest apple orchards, farms and grocery stores are brimming with the sweet fruit. Fests celebrating the food are on the event agenda while orchards have opened their doors for apple fans of all ages to engage in the picking process.
Information from the U.S. Apple Association states that the apple crop in the country is a $4 billion business. About 240 million bushels of apples are grown by 7,500 apple producers each year.
According to the association, the top apple producing states in the country are Washington, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and Idaho.
Apples often are prime choices for healthy eating. They're rich in antioxidants, high in fiber and a "good source of Vitamin C," states the association's website. Apple also have no fat, cholesterol or sodium.
When it comes to including apples in recipes, the possibilities are endless. Everything from appetizers, drinks and entrees to decadent desserts can be made with the popular fruit.
Something to Celebrate:
Apple Fests are often a great way to celebrate the fall season and the crisp fruit.
Here's a look at some festivals celebration all things apple:
- Chellberg Farm will pay homage to the food with its second annual Indiana Dunes Apples Festival scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. The fest runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Family activities will include a Kid's Corner featuring crafts and games; tractor-pulled hayrides; food activities such as learning to cook apples for apple butter and applesauce, learning to make cider, fermenting apples into vinegar and more. Tastings of the products made with apples also will be featured. Farmstand produce will be available for purchase. Entertainment presented by local musicians and the Northwest Indiana Storytellers stars on the agenda. For more information on the fest, call 219-395-1882 or visit nps.gov/indu.
- Long Grove, Illinois, will present its annual apple festival. The 26th annual Apple Fest will be held Sept. 22 to 24 in historic downtown Long Grove. Various apple treats, live music, a Kid Zone, apple pie-eating contests, vendors and more will be in the spotlight at the festival. Times for the fest are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sept. 22; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sept. 23; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 24.
Local orchards throughout the Region and Michigan offer various U-pick opportunities. Gather up the family to enjoy the process and time in the fields.
The following list features orchards/farms that offer apple picking:
- County Line Orchard, 200 County Line Road, Hobart, 219-947-4477, countylineorchard.com
- Garwood Orchards, 5911 W. 50 S., LaPorte, 219-362-4385, garwoodorchards.com
- Radke's Orchards, 8999 W. 200 N., Michigan City, 219-872-3140
- Pavolka Fruit Farm, 1176 N. Wozniak Road, Michigan City, 219-874-6056
Tasty Apple Recipes: