Sunday, October 19, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
QUESTION: Why are you picked out so early in the season?
ANSWER: 3 reasons - Demand, Supply, Location!
Demand: We believe the overwhelming demand for pick-your-own produce is being driven by 3 factors:
1 - There is a huge push to buy local. This is exacerbated by the Grocers' Buy Local marketing campaigns. Grocers will buy local produce at a premium. For example, we have opened our property to U-Pick visitors and sell our apples for approximately $1 per pound. However, we could sell that same fruit to a grocer for $2 per pound.
2 - So many people are looking for the experience of picking fresh produce. There is a nostalgic component that accompanies that too. Traditions, old and new, are being relived and created here at Wagon Wheel Orchard.
3 - The Easter Freeze of 2007 makes the first 2 components stand out even more. Since no one could get local produce or continue their family tradition of picking apples in the fall of 2007, everyone wants to do it more than ever in 2008!
Supply: We are a relatively young orchard. Our trees have not yet reached their peak production. We are also different than other orchards. Not all of our fruit matures and is ready for picking at the same time. To make it easy for our guests to know what to pick, we flag those trees that are ready for picking at any given opening! It is our hope that our guests honor our picking guidelines and leave the fruit on the trees that will mature for their visit and others later in the season. Year after year, we will continue to see an increase in the volume of fruit on our trees...Mother Nature cooperating, of course!
Location: We are the only U-Pick orchard in Johnson County to our knowledge. There are others in the region but they are quite a bit of a drive for Johnson Countians! It may seem like we are out in the middle of nowhere but in reality, we are only 15 minutes from Olathe Medical Center, 10 minutes from the I-35 Edgerton or Gardner exits, and 10 minutes from the K-10 Eudora Church Street exit!
The Demand, Supply and Location factors have created excitement at having a new orchard in the area which resulted in us being picked out before the season is over! Though the season isn't quite over...we still have one more day of picking apples and pumpkins on October 18 from 2:00-6:00!
QUESTION: How are you going to prevent being out of fruit this time next season?
ANSWER: We are going to continue to educate our guests about our picking guidelines so they are only picking the highest quality of fruit available at that time. This will allow the fruit that should be picked later in the picking season to mature as it should and to be enjoyed by visitors later in the season! Remember, Here at Wagon Wheel Orchard, the rule is simple! NO FLAG, NO PICK.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
What is a pawpaw? It is a genus of eight or nine species of small trees with large leaves and large fruit - a large edible berry with a flavor somewhat similar to both banana and mango and with more protein than most other fruit. It is native to eastern North America and includes the largest edible fruit indigenous to the continent! They are typically understory trees found in deep fertile bottomland and hilly upland habitat. And did you know that the Common Pawpaw is the only larval host of the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly!
Pawpaw pulp is used primarily in baked dessert recipes - pies, cheesecakes & breads, as well as for brewing pawpaw beer. Pawpaw can be used in place of bananas in many recipes! Check out these sites for some fantastic recipes:
We will be harvesting the pawpaws soon and will sell them out of our Trading Post shop during our open hours. Because the fresh fruit is so rare and very difficult to get, we will be taking pawpaw "reservations"! Simply email WagonWheelMail@aol.com with your name, phone number and quantity of pawpaws desired. They are $3 per pound (approximately 3 fruit per pound). We will fill the reservations in the order in which they are received. If your reservation is unable to be filled, we will call you to let you know!
Saturday, August 30, 2008
We have so many apples and peaches that are getting ready and you all will be able to enjoy a bountiful harvest in the coming weeks! Thank you so much for your understanding and support! Happy Labor Day!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Our late fall varieties including Fuji, Granny Smith, Stayman Winesap, Golden Delicious, Arkansas Black & more all look fantastic and bountiful and should be at their peak for picking from late September through October (depending on the variety).
Remember to check our picking report to the right for an up-to-the-minute status of our availability!
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Happy weekend to you all! We were blessed with some good rain this morning and there is more forecast for this weekend! So here is the scoop...in case of rain...
*We will be open - rain or shine!
*We will still have our famous peach slushies and cherry cider slushies and Prairie Fire BBQ!
*If it is actively raining, the hay-rack will not be running for safety reasons! Wet wood is very slippery. The hay-rack ride will resume when the rain has stopped and the wood has dried out.
*It is only a 7-10 minute walk to the back orchard. If you have children, you may want to bring an all-terrain wagon!
*Bring your umbrella or rain gear!
*Be prepared to get muddy! It is not that wet this morning but the potential is there for it to get muddy in the low spots! We are not envisioning walking through mud up to your knees, just getting your shoes and the hem of your jeans muddy a bit! So dress accordingly!
*Have some fun with singing in the rain!
We have discovered that fruit picks the same in the sunshine and in the rain. You still twist & lift and the fruit still tastes yummy! We have also discovered that with an umbrella, you don't really get wet while picking your fruit! And we know that if you are coming for the experience of having some good old-fashioned fun with your family and enjoy some fresh, home-grown fruit, you will find it here at Wagon Wheel Orchard, rain or shine!
Monday, August 4, 2008
We will be open as scheduled from 1:00pm-6:00pm on Saturday, August 9! So brave the heat, pick your peaches, and let the warm juices run down your chin as you chow down on your pickings all the way home!
And we have decided to go ahead and extend our hours this weekend and open from 4:00pm-6:00pm on Sunday, August 10 (we were originally scheduled to be closed that day). If you are a peach-canner or baker and would like to pick up pre-picked seconds for half price, Sunday is your day! First come, first served! When they are gone, well...they are gone! You can still come out and pick your own, too, but we will not be running the slushie machine or heating up the grill! Sunday is for the folks who just want the fruit! See you this weekend! Till then, it is fair week! Watch the posts for information on our entries!
Monday, July 21, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
It brought tears to our eyes to have Rick's grandma hang that open sign. She was so proud!
We had great weather and great customers! It was so nice to greet everyone who came to visit. We love getting to know the people who are enjoying the fruit from our trees. The peach and cherry cider slushies were a hit as were the honey straws and the Prairie Fire BBQ!
We are working hard now to irrigate the rest of the peach trees so they will be ready to pick in a couple of weeks! Keep checking back for highlights from our opening day as we prepare to open for the rest of the peach harvest! Happy trails!
Saturday, July 12, 2008
- We only have a very limited quantity of peaches available for picking on Sunday, 07/13.
- Picking 101 - the proper way to pick tree fruit is to twist gently and lift up - do not pull down on the fruit or you will damage the fruit and the tree.
- We take cash and checks payable to Wagon Wheel Orchard.
- Parking is limited so please park to allow as many vehicles in as possible.
- The Trading-Post shop will be open whether there is fruit for picking or not.
- We'll have hay rack rides to tour the orchard.
- Prairie Fire BBQ will have combo meals and a la carte items available from 10am-1pm.
- We do have a porta-potty with hand sanitizer.
- You may wish to bring bug spray and sun screen.
- If you have little ones, you may want to bring a wagon.
- We are a "working" farm. Equipment, implements and supplies may be laying about. Please do not disturb.
- We do have neighbors and ask that you respect their privacy and property.
- Enjoy watching the horses on the neighboring property. Please do not feed them. They do not belong to us and are not ours to feed.
- We will identify trees with fruit ready for picking by tying a ribbon to the end of a branch. Please do not pick fruit from any other trees even if it might look ripe.
- Many of our trees and plants are very young. To keep them safe and healthy so you can enjoy picking from them in the future, please do not touch them unless you have been taken there to pick.
- Enjoy the gourd maze during your tour of the back orchard but please do not touch any plant growing at the base of the maze walls - these are the gourd plants that give the gourd maze its name.
- Our chickens are for laying eggs. We are supporting the older ones in their quest to become ugliest chicken at the JoCo Fair. There is nothing wrong with them, they are just molting and are supposed to look that way.
We appreciate all of your continued support as we work to create a fun, family-friendly orchard!
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
We are still hoping that the peaches will be ready to pick! If they aren't quite ready, we are still going to celebrate opening our orchard to the public! We'll have hay rack rides touring the orchard every 30 minutes, slushies, eggs, herbs, our own From the Farm dip, cobbler & crisp mixes & several other goodies in the Trading Post shop. You'll be able to wind your way through the newly planted apple-shaped gourd maze and feed the goats, chickens, ducks, and catfish!
This all started many years ago when Rick’s Great Uncle William Essex developed the famed Fulton County (Illinois) apple in 1847. Rick’s grandparents, Charles & Doris Greuel, established an Illinois farmstead and apple orchard in the 1940s. Charles built and operated The Wagon Wheel Trading Post just outside of Macomb, IL, which Doris still runs today. So it just makes sense that she hang the OPEN sign on this Wagon Wheel!
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
We also planted the gourds around the gourd maze which is in the background of this picture! From the air, this maze looks like a great big apple with a stem & leaf at the top!
We gave the golf cart a good washing (still trying to come up with a good name for the golf cart) so when our visitors hitch a ride back to their car from their tree with a full bag of fruit, they have a clean ride.
I spent most of the day Sunday scrubbing & cleaning a whole bunch of dried gourds from last year. Just as I felt I had really made some progress, Rick pointed out another huge stash of them in the barn! There are still 4 more boxes of them in the garage too! They will all get their dip in the kiddie pool when this first batch is done! Then they will be all ready to turn into bird houses or to craft to your heart's content. I "plan" on painting a bunch of them this fall to sell out of the Trading Post or at our booth at Old Settler's Day in Olathe!
Friday, June 20, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
We also started to clear off the porch of our barn, the future home of the Trading Post. We will set up shop on the porch for the first year or two! We'll see how things go and as we grow, we might just move things inside the barn!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
We also decided to have some regular hours for picking throughout the season, too. We've posted those to the right! Of course, you should call to check on availability first! Wow! It seems so official now!
Sunday, June 8, 2008
We just finished planting the pumpkins and gourds in our big pumpkin patch and gourd maze right before tonight's storm. We are excited to grow more award-winning entries for this year's Johnson County Fair!
Well, that's the spring-to-date in a nutshell! Stay dry!
Here's to a great season!
Rick & Suzie Godsil