By the time we got to Highland Orchards we were... exhausted. The kids needed to be fed, we were all hot and sticky from the humidity, Aurelia was tired and cranky. So let's just say it was awesome that they had farm animals to cheer us all up. :)
They had pick-your-own peaches, Lodi apples, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, but we weren't in the mood and we still had other locations we wanted to get to. So we checked out the little market instead, but we will definitely be coming back to pick our own fruit.
I spoke to Emily Hodge, who was very nice and happy to answer my questions. She told me Highland Orchards has been in her family since 1941. They started growing primarily apples, and over the years have added other fruits. They also sell produce from other local farms. Before her family owned the farm, it was a farm for raising cattle for beef. (You know I am happy when farms switch from raising animals to raising produce, haha.) They have 350 acres, a great deal of which is still dedicated to apples. They are not organic, but they use as little chemical spray as possible, and no wax is ever applied to their apples. They also use Integrated Pest Management.
In addition to the produce they sell, they have a bakery in the market and shelves of jarred and preserved goods. A strong emphasis is placed on locally sourced products. All bakery items are baked fresh every day.
Before heading out I bought a quarter peck of Lodi apples and a bag each of blue corn tortillas and white corn tortillas.
The apples came with a recipe for Lodi applesauce, which I made. I found that the texture of Lodi apples is not super crisp, but it is perfect for simmering down with cinnamon and a touch of sugar. In the past when I have made my own applesauce I didn't use sugar, but this variety of apple was a bit tart and tangy. The applesauce was delicious and met both Chris's and Aurelia's standards.
The tortillas- amazing. Highland Orchards makes them themselves. We devoured one bag in a single sitting along with a fresh batch of guacamole. The ingredient list shows (among other all natural things) brown sugar and chili powder, which I think was the perfect seasoning.
Do you ever pick your own produce? Anyone have good recipes for Lodi apples?