Pub­lic in­vited to pick ap­ples

The or­chard in­cludes over 30 va­ri­eties to choose from

The Boyertown Area Times - - LOCAL NEWS - Sub­mit­ted to Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

Be­gin­ning Aug. 26 and con­tin­u­ing while the crop lasts, the ap­ple or­chard at Hopewell Furnace Na­tional His­toric Site will be avail­able for ap­ple pick­ing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ev­ery day the park is open.

This will be the 31st year the Na­tional Park Ser­vice has in­vited the pub­lic to har­vest ap­ples from the park’s trees. The pro­ceeds of ap­ple sales go to­ward main­tain­ing the or­chard and other his­toric en­ti­ties of the park.

“The or­chard is an im­por­tant el­e­ment of the his­toric land­scape” said Site Man­ager David Black­burn. “We love hav­ing the abil­ity to make this re­source avail­able to our visi­tors.”

Hopewell’s or­chard has been found to be nearly as old as the iron furnace it­self. Men­tioned in con­tem­po­rary ac­counts as early as 1782, ap­ple trees were planted, pruned and har­vested yearly. The or­chard was re­plen­ished with new trees through­out the 19th Cen­tury and pro­vided valu­able food for furnace community res­i­dents, both man and beast.

The present or­chard in­cludes over 30 va­ri­eties of ap­ples, many of which are his­toric types that may have been found at Hopewell when the furnace was an ac­tive in­dus­trial site. Early va­ri­eties such as Graven­stein and Sum­mer Rambo were in­tro­duced from Europe by early set­tlers. Oth­ers such as Jonathan, Stay­man, and Penn­syl­va­nia’s own Smoke­house were “dis­cov­ered” in Amer­ica and be­came fa­vorites dur­ing the 19th Cen­tury.

Some of these va­ri­eties are hard to find to­day since they are no longer raised by com­mer­cial or­chards. Also, Hopewell Furnace’s ap­ples are grown with­out the use of ap­plied her­bi­cides and

pes­ti­cides, al­low­ing them to re­tain their his­toric qual­ity and taste.

Per­sons wish­ing to pick ap­ples should stop by the park’s visi­tor cen­ter to ob­tain a list of ap­ple va­ri­eties and or­chard map be­fore be­gin­ning to pick. Pick­ing poles and buck­ets will be pro­vided by the park. Ap­ples cost $1 per pound re­gard­less of va­ri­ety or qual­ity.

Hopewell Furnace is lo­cated five miles south of Birds­boro, off Route 345. En­trance to the park is free. For more in­for­ma­tion stop by the park’s visi­tor cen­ter, call 610-582-8773, visit the park’s web­site at: www.nps.gov/hofu, or con­tact us by e-mail at ho­fu_ su­per­in­ten­dent@nps.gov. Visi­tors with spe­cific needs may con­tact the park for as­sis­tance in ad­vance of their visit.

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