Festival celebrates apples

More than 40 farms and orchards are participating in the Apple Festival at Green Bluff, a yearly festival held by the Green Bluff Grower’s organization to celebrate the yearly apple harvest.

One of the largest venues for the Apple Festival is the Harvest House, a 20-acre orchard on the intersection of Green Bluff Road and Day Mt. Spokane Road.

The Harvest House hosts dozens of vendors who offer everything from kettle corn to face painting. Live music and horse-drawn carriage rides are also included in the harvest fair activities, and of course, no festival would be complete without a corn maze.

“My favorite part about the orchard was the fact that you could pick fresh fruit and eat it right there,” Seth Flanders said, a Whitworth sophomore who visited the Harvest House on a dorm outing. “Oh, and climbing ladders was fun,” Flanders said.

Marilyn Beck has owned the farm with her family since it opened in 1987.

“Our philosophy with our success up here is that we have tried to fill a lot of voids and a lot of needs, and we consider our farm a full package deal,”  Beck said.

While the Harvest House may seem to have it all, it is just one of the 47 places to visit on a tour of the Apple Festival. Each ranch, farm, granary and winery has its own unique flavor. Take for instance Siemers Farm, off the beaten path, but easily recognizable by the four-story castle rising from its corn maze.

Donna Siemers has owned the farm since it opened in 1975, and has participated in the Apple Festival since it started 26 years ago. The farm features a pumpkin patch, food vendors, pedal cars for kids of all ages and the  corn maze with the castle called the Kingdom of Id.

To date, Siemers herself holds the track record on the farm for the fastest lap around the pedal-car track at one minute and ten seconds.

For Siemers, and for the workers at her farm, the work is hard, but rewarding. Brandon Hertz, who has been working for the farm for two and a half years, said he likes it because of all the people he meets.

“People aren’t in too much of a hurry. We see a lot of regulars, and they like to stop and chat for a bit,” Hertz said.

The farm features pumpkin, squash, apples, carrots and corn, along with a multitude of other fresh produce. The pride of Siemers Farm are their honeycrisp apples.

“Green Bluff produces the best quality produce that you can find,” Siemers said. “These apples test 25 to 35 percent higher in natural sugar than apples raised in other areas. You can taste the difference. Go out and have one of those honeycrisp apples, you’ve never tasted anything that good.”

Lucas Thayer Staff Writer

Contact Lucas Thayer at lthayer12@my.whitworth.edu.