CHILTON (NBC 26) — For many, one of the highlights of the fall season is the specialty fall-flavored desserts and drinks. For one local orchard, fall treats are their bread and butter.
“1977 was our first year in business," said owner of Heritage Orchard Vern Gasch. "It was an original orchard at that time that we purchased and we’ve been working at it ever since trying to improve things and expanding to more and more products.”
Heritage Orchard has a full bakery with items made fresh every morning. Some are classic fall staples, while others are newer creations.
“Mornings we come in we usually make donuts, the rollups, and then depending upon the season we are either doing applesauce or cutting up apples for our apple pies," said kitchen manager Karen Heller.
The orchard is a one-stop shop for all things apple flavored, but some items are in especially high demand this year.
“Our number one seller are our apple cider donuts and we sell a lot of caramel apples and turnovers,” Gasch said.
While the apple cider donuts may claim the top spot, he says another one of this year’s most popular items is dried apple rings.
“Another thing that’s becoming more and more popular are dehydrated apples," Gasch said. "We use honey crisp apples and dehydrate them and it’s just like eating candy.”
Another fan favorite is the apple pie roll-ups, a dessert made of apple pie filling that’s rolled in bread. Heller says this year they've been flying off the shelves.
“They are out of this world and everybody loves them. They buy them by the dozens just like the donuts,” Heller said.
But above all, the orchard’s main attraction is their apple cider. Gasch says it takes about six hours to prepare each batch and estimates the orchard makes about 5,000 gallons every fall.
If you're looking to nab yourself a gallon of the cider, this is your last chance. This weekend will be the orchard's last weekend of the season.
“We sell a lot of cider. We consider it a treat and I think a lot of people do too," Gasch said. "We press each batch separately at least weekly and sometimes more often. That process takes about four hours just for the pressing part of it and it’ll take another hour or two to bottle it.”
It’s those mouthwatering treats that has kept the orchard going strong year after year. Gasch says it takes a village to keep customers coming back for more.
“All of these things including the kitchen items and the cider takes a lot of people and we have a great crew of people that are helping us all fall,” Gasch said.