Travel:

Em­brace fall with an ap­ple-pick­ing visit to Peck & Bushel’s or­ganic or­chard in Wash­ing­ton County.

Milwaukee Magazine - - DEPARTMENTS - By ANN CHRIS­TEN­SON

Why ap­ple-pick­ing at this or­chard should be on your au­tumn bucket list

Ashort path sur­rounded by a for­est of oak, cherry and maple leads to rows and rows of ver­dant trees lush with green and red-tinted fruit. A plas­tic bag folded un­der my arm, I pass rows with wooden signs des­ig­nat­ing the va­ri­ety of ap­ple – Sweet Six­teen, Hon­ey­crisp, Ma­coun and more than a dozen more. I hear dis­tant voices and fol­low them to the row of ap­ples I’ve come to pick at charm­ing Peck & Bushel Fruit Co. in Col­gate, a com­mu­nity west of Ger­man­town in Wash­ing­ton County.

The 8-year-old or­ganic or­chard, which has grown from 3,000 trees in its first year to nearly 30,000 trees now, is the brain­child of Joe and Jen­nifer Fa­hey. Joe’s en­try to or­chard­ing started in the Fa­heys’ own back­yard, with trees he planted and tended as a hobby. There, he worked through the chal­lenges of or­ganic fruit pro­duc­tion (hu­mid sum­mers, in­sects), but he faced them in a larger scope when they bought the Col­gate prop­erty.

Joe serves as full-time or­chardist, aided by the ex­tended Fa­hey fam­ily, mem­bers of which you’ll see serv­ing warm, sugar-coated cider dough­nuts and mak­ing caramel ap­ples when the or­chard is open (Sat-Sun only, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.). Jen­nifer’s touch is ev­i­dent through­out the or­chard’s mod­ern-meets-rus­tic barn, where she spent a re­cent Satur­day morn­ing pour­ing sam­ples of tart-sweet cider made with late-sum­mer Williams’ Pride ap­ples.

Bags of picked ap­ples are of­fered for sale in the barn, along with hon­eys (some from Peck & Bushel’s bees), ap­ple but­ter, jams, can­dles and dec­o­ra­tive gift items. Buy­ing pre-bagged ap­ples is con­ve­nient, but it doesn’t com­pare to drink­ing in the fresh, nat­u­rally per­fumed air and tramp­ing through the or­chard rows, pluck­ing fruit off the branches. And don’t miss the on-site bak­ery’s flaky slab ap­ple pie, ap­ple-wal­nut bars and won­der­ful light cake dough­nuts.

Pick-your-own: $28 per peck for 2018. Open through mid- to late Oc­to­ber, (5454 County Road Q; 414-4180336)

PHOTO CHRIS KESSLER

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