Way back in October, Tom and I visited the Lynd Fruit Farm in Pataskala, Ohio. We are now back at Fort Frederica National Monument in Georgia, but I still have so many things to catch up on that I will be writing about stuff in Ohio for the rest of January.
I love to go to a good apple orchard and fall farms have been gaining in popularity. One example is the Ramseyer Farm near Wooster, Ohio. They sell fall produce, have corn mazes and hay rides and all kind of special events for a limited time. Tom and I have been intending to go to Ramseyer for years, but we never seem to make it.
Apple orchards are even more fun for me. Nothing smells better than a building full of a variety of fresh-picked apples. Mom and Dad live near Apple Hill Orchard in Mansfield, Ohio. Even though it is very small, I would go there any day of the week. Their fresh-baked apple donuts are delicious! When we lived in Kent, we made at least one trip a year to Beckwith Orchards and Cider Mill. In visiting our friends Sandy and Eric Shaw in Doylestown, we discovered Rittman Orchards and Farm Market. They not only have apples, but a bakery, a cider mill, a winery, and other fall fruit.
This fall I was looking for an apple orchard a little closer to home and one of the rangers at Slate Run Farm suggested Lynd Fruit Farm in Pataskala. A trip to an apple orchard? Yes, please! I couldn’t wait to go, and made Tom drive there after we had worked a full day at Slate Run Farm. Pataskala is on the way back to Westerville from Canal Winchester, sort of. If you drive further east and north.
Lynd Fruit Farm exceeded my expectations of a spectacular apple orchard and is now my favorite place to go for apples. First of all, they do a huge you-pick business. On weekends in the fall, there are lines of cars waiting to get into the you-pick area. It is one of those things that families love to do together. I am content to let someone else pick my apples, and I was impressed by the huge bins of apples in the Market Warehouse. On a Friday afternoon, there were tons of people in the Warehouse but it didn’t really feel crowded. It is a large, open area with the apples set up in a covered outdoor area.
Each of the bins had a sign describing the apple and I loved the personality with the signs. For instance, “Pixie Crunch: Top seller for folks who enjoy sweet apples. Kids absolute favorite! Not recommended for cooking.” “Scruffy: Ugliest apple we grow. Excellent tart / sweet taste! We love it for cider. Use this one up within a month. The information on the signs was very helpful in deciding which apples to select. They also had a huge banner that listed all the apples they grow, when they ripen, how they taste, and what they are best for. The banner had more than 26 varieties of apple on it – something for everyone.
In addition to the apples, Lynd Fruit Farm Market sells a variety of produce, Troyer baked goods, and Lynd Fruit Farm sauces and ciders. There was so much to look at, it was hard to decide what to buy. In order to entice people to stay longer, they have a hot dog stand, a hot cider stand, and a popcorn stand.
Tom and I selected some Pixie Crunch and Honeycrisp apples. Tom was concerned that we had too many apples, but I can go through apples at a pretty good pace. We also got an apple pie to share with John and Jackie and a pumpkin roll just for John. We love the Troyer cinnamon rolls, so we got a pack of those just for us.
Lynd Fruit Farm was established by Alton Tecumseh Lynd, his wife Vesta, and their six sons, in 1919. Although Alton had always been an apple farmer, Vesta convinced him he would sell more apples if they moved near the growing metropolis of Columbus. Three of Alton and Vesta’s sons stayed on the farm and expanded it to 380 acres. Mitch Lynd, a grandson of Alton and Vesta, co-founded the Midwest Apple Improvement Association in the 1990’s to develop apples that had a longer storage life, better taste more desirable texture, and were suitable for growing in the Midwest. The Evercrisp apple is one of their developments.
Lynd Fruit Farm closes in the winter and reopens in the middle of April. They stock home-grown, seasonal produce beginning with greenhouse lettuces in April, raspberries in June, sweet corn in August, and award-winning cider in October. Although we only made it one day last year, Lynd Fruit Farm is a place I intend to visit again and again.