Apples: A Bushel and a Peck
Whether we pick’em ourselves or buy’em in bags, come fall, we want fresh apples. A couple years ago, we discovered Hurricane Hollow Apple Orchard in Baxter, TN. It wasn’t the closest orchard to Nashville, but – after getting off the phone with Leon Boyd, the proprietor and chief picker for the past thirty-five years – we knew it was the one.
Just a few miles off of I-40, Leon and his wife, Edwina, own a small orchard with an unusual abundance of apple varieties, about eight in all. The apples are sorted and bagged and ready to buy, in pecks and in bushels. Or as cider if you enjoy your apples juiced. The apple farming duo are old school to their core, Edwina recording the purchases in a spiral notebook in the little shed that serves for a store and Leon, with one helper, picking all the apples the old-fashioned way: an apple bag strapped to his chest. Time was when Leon let the public pick their own fruit, but Leon stopped that when a customer got more than he bargained for. “One guy got a rattler up his pant leg,” Leon recalls. “He thought it was a vine and swatted it and found it was a rattler. “
These days, Leon works his way up the steep hill behind his mobile home, picking clean all the trees of their Staymans, Winesaps, Fujis, Mutsus, and Ambrosias while Edwina covers the business end of the fruit of their labors. Married for fifty-three years, Edwina says Leon is “a good man, but not so good with the customers.” As a result, he sticks to the picking and she runs the apple cleaner, the sorter, and the store. Together, the pair supply a local store with bags of fresh apples, but primarily rely on returning customers for the bulk of their business.
One such customer is a guy from East Tennessee who comes every year to the area to deer hunt and one year brought a cake. Edwina made it, and it’s been her go to apple cake ever since. It’s become a tradition. Edwina mixes the batter by hand as it is rather thick. The first year she made it, she “burned up her hand mixer.” It’s our go-to cake now too. Good to the core. For recipe, go to ediblenashville.com
Want to know how apples grow? Really grow. Watch the video “How Does it Grow” at howgrow.org
Five places to pick local apples:
1 Hurricane Hollow Apple Orchards Buffalo Valley, TN (Putnam County)
No picking, only fresh apples available in pecks and bushels.
2 The Orchard Cross Plains, TN (Robertson County)
615-654-9227 | firstname.lastname@example.org
3 Red Chief Orchard Gallatin, TN (Sumner County)
615-452-1516 or 615-452-1516
4 Breeden’s Orchard Pie Kitchen & Country Store Mt. Juliet, TN (Wilson County)
Morning Glory Orchards Nolensville, TN (Williamson County)
Shade Tree Farm & Orchard Adams, TN (Robertson County)