Friday, July 31, 2009

We will now open August 8th at 2:00pm!

It has been so cool these last few weeks that the peaches have slowed their growth down a bit! We are going to give them another week or so to sweeten up and we hope to see a few of you on Saturday, August 8th from 2:00pm-6:00pm for some apples! The peaches will follow towards the end of August! They will be worth your wait!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Picking Guidelines

To our loyal customers! We need your help to protect your fruit! As many of you who have visited now know, we explain our picking guidelines before giving you a bag and sending you out to the orchard to pick your fruit.

Unfortunately, we experienced some significant losses last season as a result of our guidelines not being respected. Apples were picked months before they should have been picked. School groups had to be turned away because the fruit on the tree that we had reserved for them and not flagged for public picking was picked anyway. Fruit was pulled off the tree and not twisted and lifted and major branches were broken.

Our picking guideline is:

We ask that you only pick from trees with the flags like the one in this picture! And we ask that you please twist and lift, do not pull, do not break our branches or there will be no fruit on that branch for you to enjoy next year.

That’s it! And here’s why!

We have 11 different varieties of peaches that ripen at varying times over 3 months and 166 different varieties of apples that ripen at varying times over 5 months and 6 different varieties of pears that ripen at varying times over 2 months so not all fruit that you see on the trees is ripe at the same time even if it looks like it should be! For example, the Arkansas Black apple is a beautiful red in August but is not prime for picking until November 1. Picked any earlier, this apple will not taste good.We make it easy for you to identify what to pick by flagging only those trees that are ready to be picked.

Trees that have fruit and are not flagged (and therefore not to be picked) fall into one of the following categories:

  • Trees that are not ripe and will not taste right if picked before their time.

  • Trees that we are experimenting with. We are trying to reestablish nearly extinct Kansas apple varieties. Many of our trees are heirloom varieties that have not been grown in our region for over 100 years and we are trying to preserve their existence.

  • Trees that are reserved for school, scouting and other children’s groups for educational purposes.

Our theory as to why there are so few pick-your-own orchards in the area (several of which have gone out of business just in the last two years) is that the disregard for picking guidelines and resulting damages make it more profitable for the farmer to pick their own fruit and sell to the grocery stores or in pre-picked markets.

We need your help! If you would like to continue to experience the pick-your-own environment that we have created for you, we need help with both educating others and preventing this behavior! So, we ask you, our loyal customers, to help us with this! These trees are your trees, this fruit is your fruit! If you want to enjoy this fruit, please help us protect it for you to enjoy season after season! Feel free to kindly remind others who may be picking from an unflagged tree about our "No Flag, No Pick" rule.

Thank you so much for your help.

First Time Visitors!

If you are coming out to visit our orchard for the first time or just need a refresher, here are a few things you should know!


  • Our picking guideline is NO FLAG, NO PICK. We will identify trees with fruit ready for picking by tying a ribbon flag to the end of a branch. Please do not pick fruit from any other trees even if it looks ripe.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • We take cash and checks payable to Wagon Wheel Orchard.


  • There is only one entrance and exit to the orchard – this is the gravel drive located just to the south of the big Wagon Wheel Orchard sign. Please do not pull into any other gravel drives nearby as they are private property.
  • Parking does not open until the orchard opens. Please do not park or stop your vehicle on the 2-lane county road in front of our orchard waiting for us to open. If you arrive early, we ask that you drive around the block until we open the lot.
  • Park in front of the multi-colored flags in the gravel parking area first.
  • Parking is limited so please park to allow as many vehicles in as possible.
  • If the gravel parking area is full, you may park in the overflow grass lot designated by the multi-colored flags.

Hay Rack Rides:

  • The hay rack will be operating when we are properly staffed to take you to the fruit trees in the back, to tour the orchard, and to take you to the pond. There is no guarantee that we will be operating the hay rack at any given time.
  • Please be prepared to walk to and from the back orchard (1/3 mile or about 7-10 minutes one way) if you don't want to wait. If you have children, we suggest you bring a wagon!

Gourd Maze:

  • 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.

The Trading Post:

  • The Trading Post will be open with our famous slushies, honey straws, & seasonal produce.

Porta Potty:

  • We have one porta-potty with hand sanitizer located in the front orchard by the parking.

Working Farm:

  • Equipment, implements and supplies may be laying about since we are a working farm. 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 have goats, ducks & chickens!
  • Our goats love to be fed!
  • 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.
  • Our catfish in the back pond love to be fed!

We appreciate all of your continued support as we work to create a fun, family-friendly orchard!