PENROSE, Colo. (CBS4) – The arrival of fall in Colorado means crisp fruit is ripening on trees around the state. For Tony Ferrara, the owner of The Happy Apple Farm, this year is definitely a happy one.
Last year, an early freeze wiped out his entire crop in his orchard in Penrose, just east of Canon City.
“3,000 apple trees, I had no one apple on this whole orchard,” is how Ferrara described the scene to Colorado Getaways producer Doug Whitehead.
But this year, it’s a much different story. “You hear about Eden, you know, the Garden of Eden? This might have been what it looked you,” Ferrara said, “you know, with all the apples.”
The branches of his trees are bending under the weight of all those apples. “Most trees average four bushels and that’s quite a lot of apples,” he said. “I’ll bet there’s 20 bushels on this tree. That’s ridiculous.”
And with rows and rows of those over-burdened trees, The Happy Apple Farm is the place to be for people who want to pick their own apples.
Those apple-pickers said it’s not just about quantity but quality. “They’re really crispy and they taste delicious. They’re just so good,” is how one apple picker described her haul. She said she might never buy apples from the store again.
Ferrara is so certain of his apples, he encourages taste-testing in the orchard. That makes apple picking a real family outing.
“We think the galas are the best and they’re low enough so that the children can pick them too,” one mother explained.
Families don’t need to worry about picking more than they can carry. They can catch a ride on tractor which takes them not only to the apple orchard but also the berry patches. The Happy Apple Farm also grows raspberries and blackberries as well as pears and pumpkins.
Berry picking also presents a challenge for keeping track of what’s being picked, at least according to one father. “I think with the raspberries and blackberries (the thing to do) is weigh the kids before they go out and pick and then weigh them again after they pick to see how much they actually ate.”
Ferrara said the best day to pick is Wednesday because the farm is not open on Monday or Tuesday so all the fruit has had a couple of days to rest.
The apples and berries are ready for picking now, pumpkins should be ready by the middle of September.
Admission to the farm is free and is catching a ride on the tractor. The apples cost $1.45 a pound.