Activities & Recipes
Fall activities for all to enjoy
Free Hayrides to the pumpkin patch Saturdays and Sundays through October 30. Saturdays the Hayrides start at 10:00am with the last ride going out at 5:30pm. Sundays the Hayrides start at noon with the last ride going out at 5:30pm.
Fun combined with an Educational Agricultural Experience, Maureen Kercher’s 30 years’ worth of experience in leading school field trips shines through when you experience one of our many trips conducted each fall. She is a seasoned tour guide who knows her stuff and knows how to talk to kids of all ages. She will lead your group with a sense of humor and appreciation of what it takes to run a modern day apple orchard and farm.
The Apple Guided Tour
- Apple Picking – 3 apples each
- Hay Ride – over hill over dale……safe, fun and a great farm experience (about a 15 min. ride)
- 1 Really Cool Gourd – Gourds come in all shapes and sizes – in this tour we let everyone loose in our big gourd patch to find their favorite gourd and it is theirs to take home. It is like a big scavenger hunt and the kids just love it. We plant little surprises along the way such as sunflowers and Indian corn.
- One Super Cute Apple Sipper Cup – filled to the brim with Kercher’s fresh, sweet apple cider.
- A walk on the Corny Side – a walk through the corn field with corny jokes and surprises along the way. A delightful scarecrow stands tall to make sure you do not get lost.
- For the older kids – Grades 1 and up we have available a wonderful 20 Min. video on just what does it take to grow apples and get them ready for the grocery stores.
- One Welcome to our Apple Farm coloring book
Pricing is $6.00/child, $5.00/adult and teachers are free for groups of 20 or more. We also have a picnic area and port-a-Jon for your visiting convenience. Bring your own bag….for all the goodies you will want to take home.
The Pumpkin Guided Tour
- Pumpkin Picking – 1 Pie Pumpkin (approx. diameter 10 inches)
- Hay Ride – over hill over dale……safe, fun and a great farm experience (about a 15 min. ride) We plant little surprises along the way such as sunflowers and Indian corn.
- One Super Cute Pumpkin Sipper Cup – filled to the brim with Kercher’s fresh, sweet apple cider.
- A walk on the Corny Side – a walk designed to do just that – a walk through the corn field with “corny” jokes and surprises along the way. A delightful scarecrow stands tall to make sure you don’t get lost.
- One “Welcome to our Pumpkin Farm” coloring book
Pricing is $5.00/child, $4.00/adult and teachers are free for groups of 20 or more. We also have a picnic area and port-a-Jon for your visiting convenience. Bring your own bag….for all the goodies you will want to take home..
U-Pick at Kercher’s
U-Pick Pumpkins, weekends beginning the last weekend in Sept. and every weekend in Oct. Jump on a fun and relaxing hayride through the orchard to the pumpkin patch. A great family activity, a favorite family memory. We recommend shoes or boots that are field appropriate. You could encounter mud and weeds while picking apples and pumpkins.
U-Pick apples begin Mid-August and end about late October. Please call 574-533-6311 for specific dates and times. We offer several varieties of apples; McIntosh, Cortland, Jonathan, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Fuji, JonaGold, HoneyCrisp, Gala, Lodi and Gold Rush for your picking pleasure. See homegrown apples for their uses. We have other varieties that are not available as u-pick to purchase at our farm market.
Activity Area and Pavilion: Open May-October
Funny Family Face Boards and Apple Man for those photo moments that you’ll cherish forever. We have a spacious pavilion with picnic tables (to rest your feet and grab something to eat) and port-a-Jon for your convenience. Download our “Fun Things to Do at Kercher’s Orchards” guide.Download
- Apple Cider: Sep. 15 – Dec. 31
- Apples: Jul. 15 – Dec. 31
- Apples, U-pick: Sep. 5 – Oct. 31
- Asparagus: May 1 – Jun. 15
- Beans (green): Jun. 1 – Aug. 31
- Bing Cherries: Jun. 15 – July. 15
- Blueberries: Jul. 1 – Jul. 31
- Cabbage: Jul. 15 – Nov. 30
- Gourds: Sep. 15 – Nov. 27
- Jams & Jellies: Apr. 1 – Dec. 31
- Maple Syrup: Apr. 1 – Dec. 31
- Mini Pumpkins: Sep. 15 – Oct. 31
- Muskmelon: Jul. 1 – Aug. 31
- Pumpkins: Sep. 15 – Thanksgiving
- Squash (acorn): Aug. 15 – Nov. 30
- Squash (butternut): Aug. 15 – Nov. 30
- Sweet Corn: May 25 – Nov. 30
- Tart Cherries: Jun. 15 – Jul. 15
- Tomatoes: May 10 – Dec. 31
- Watermelon: Jul. 1 – Sep. 20
- Yellow Summer Squash: Jun. 15 – Oct. 31
- Zucchini: Jun. 15 – Oct. 31
All About Apples
- Select apples that are firm to the touch, have a good aroma and are free of skin breaks and bruises.
- Handle them gently to prevent bruising.
- Wash each apple under running water and dry with a clean paper towel.
- Slicing Apples: Cut and coat apple slices in a mixture of one part lemon juice to three parts water, in vitamin C-fortified 100% apple juice or in a commercial anti-browning product to prevent browning. Eat within 2 hours or refrigerate immediately until use.
Fresh and Ready-to-Eat
- Refrigerate apples as soon as possible to slow ripening and maintain flavor. Properly-refrigerated apples can keep anywhere from 4-6 weeks.
- Store apples away from strong-smelling foods, to prevent them from absorbing unpleasant odors.
- Wash individually-sold apples in cool water before serving.
Freeze for Later Use
- Select firm and crisp apples for freezing.
- Unsweetened Dry-pack Method of Freezing: Peel, cut and core the apples and soak in ascorbic acid to prevent browning. Place slices on a cookie sheet until frozen solid. Once frozen, remove and place in plastic freezer bags or freezer containers and place in freezer. Ideal for use in pies.
- Sweetened Dry-pack Method of Freezing: Peel, cut and core the apples and soak in ascorbic acid to prevent browning. Add 1/2 cup of sugar to slices and mix until thoroughly coated. Pack in freezer containers, seal, and freeze. Ideal for use in pies.
- Syrup-pack Method of Freezing: Prepare a syrup by adding 2 3/4 c sugar to 4 c of water. Stir over heat until sugar is dissolved and chill. Peel, cut and core the apples and soak in vitamin C to prevent browning. Once chilled, add 1/2 teaspoon of anti-browning agent (ascorbic acid) to syrup and place in freezer containers. Add apples to syrup and submerge completely. Seal the containers and freeze. Ideal for use in uncooked desserts.
- Drying apples at home is difficult without a dehydrator. If you plan to use a dehydrator, we encourage you to follow the instructions included with the dehydrator.
- Treat apples with ascorbic acid, fruit juice or sulfite prior to drying to prevent browning and preserve flavor.
- Thin-sliced apples dry the fastest.
- To cook reconstituted apples, simmer covered in liquid, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Apple Cider Pasteurization
Unpasteurized, cider may contain some naturally occurring bacteria that could be harmful to the elderly and very young. These bacteria must be killed by a pasteurization process prior to drinking the cider. To pasteurize, Kercher’s Sunrise Orchards uses a consistent process which heats cider to 160 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 seconds and immediately cools it back down to 50 degrees. The USDA and FDA have determined that this process insures a safe product for all to enjoy.
We believe pasteurization only improves the flavor of our cider. Take an apple pie for example…when a pie is baked at 375 degrees for one hour, the flavor of the apples is enhanced by the baking process. The same can also be said for cider and pasteurization.
Download Kercher's Apple Use Guide
Sources: University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension, University of Minnesota Extension
Gift Baskets & Boxes
We reserve the right to postpone shipping date based on weather conditions.
- To Order: Mail, bring, fax or phone in your order today.
- Payment due with order.
- Packaging and handling $3.00 each box shipped.
- All shipments sent UPS, billed at cost.
- To ensure arrival by Christmas, order before December 16.
- Visa and MasterCard accepted.
- Call for shipping restrictions for the following states: CA, AZ, & WA.
GIFT CERTIFICATES AVAILABLE – GIVE A HOLIDAY HARVEST – ORDER TODAY
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Mr. Apple’s Favorite Dutch Apple Pie
- Use a tart apple such as Jonathan, Cortland, Ida Red, McIntosh or Northern Spy
- 2/3 c. sugar
- 2 table. All-purpose flour
- ¾ t. ground cinnamon
- 6-8 tart apples, pared, cored and sliced (6 cups)
- 1 9″ unbaked pie shell
- ½ c. all-purpose flour
- ¼ c. sugar
- ¼ cup butter
Combine first 3 ingredients; stir into apples. Turn into pie shell. Combine remaining flour and sugar; cut in butter till crumbly. Sprinkle over apples. Bake in 400 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes or till done. If pie browns too quickly, cover edge with foil.
Easy Microwave Applesauce
- 6 cups of sliced, peeled apples
- 1/4c water
- 1/3c sugar (adjust to taste)
- Cinnamon to taste (optional)
Mix all ingredients in a 2-quart microwave safe baking dish. Cover and micro-cook on high power 6 to 8 minutes. Using a food processor or blender, process the cooked mixture to the desired consistency. For chunkier sauce, use a potato masher or pastry blender. Eat immediately or keep in refrigerator for freshness.
- 10 pints apples, peeled and sliced
- 4 cups raw sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 quart water
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
Combine the apples and water in a large kettle. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until apples are soft. Pass through a food mill. Combine strained applesauce with remaining ingredients in a clean kettle. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cook gently, uncovered, until mixture becomes quite thick, at least two and a half hours, stirring often. Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal.
Makes about 2 quarts. Enjoy.
Famous Apple Bread with Cinnamon-Sugar Topping
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 c. sugar
- 1 c. oil
- 1 T. vanilla extract
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 3 to 4 apples cored, peeled and chopped Jonathan, Cortland, McIntosh, Empire, and Rome Beauty are great choices.
- 1 c. chopped pecans (optional)
- Cinnamon-Sugar Topping
- 1/3 C sugar
- 1 t. cinnamon
Combine eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla until well mixed; set aside. Combine flour, baking soda and cinnamon in a separate bowl; stir into egg mixture. Fold in apples and pecans. Divide equally between 2 greased and floured 9″x 5″ loaf pans. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture on top and bake at 325 degrees for one hour and 10 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.
Kercher’s Old-Fashioned Applesauce
For the best flavor use a tart apple such as Cortland, Jonathan, Ida Red or Rome Beauty, we encourage mixing of apple varieties for exceptional flavor. Golden Delicious apples make a great sauce if you don’t want to add any sugar…it is naturally sweet enough.
- 2 lbs. apples, cored, peeled and sliced
- 1 C. Water
- ¼ to ½ c. sugar
- ½ t. cinnamon
Combine apples and water in large saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until apples are tender, 10-15 minutes. Uncover and cook until thickened, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Stir in sugar to taste and cinnamon; cover and chill overnight.
Makes 6-8 servings
Kercher’s Apple Dumplings
You will get rave reviews when you serve these melt-in-your-mouth treats. Serve with ice cream.
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- ½ t. salt
- 2/3 c. shortening
- 2 to 3 T. ice-cold water
- 6 tart apples, cored and peeled
- ½ c. sugar
- 1-1/2 t. cinnamon
Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl; cut in shortening to a cornmeal consistence. Stir in water. Roll out dough on a floured surface; cut into 6 squares large enough to cover apples.
Set an apple in the center of each square. Mix together sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over apples. Bring sides of dough together to cover apples; press to seal. Place seam-side down in a greased 13″x9″ baking pan. Pour Cinnamon Syrup over dumplings. Bake at 500 degrees; bake for an additional 35 to 40 minutes, until golden and apples are tender. Makes 6 dumplings.
Homemade Strawberry Pie
- Mix: 1 1/2 cup Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- Mix: 1/2 cup Mazola Oil
- 2 tablespoon milk
- Combine dry and wet mixtures stirring until a moist dough forms. Put into pie pan. Bake in a 450-degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Cool
Glaze and Filling:
- Combine and boil until clear
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoon corn syrup
- pinch of salt
- Add 1/2 box of strawberry jello and several drops of red food coloring.
- Cool and poor glaze over strawberries
- Fill pie crust with glazed strawberries
- 2 c. water
- 4 t. butter
- ½ t. cinnamon
Combine ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook and stir until sugar dissolves.