By Victoria Cullinan
With the beginning of the fall season comes apples galore! If you’re getting tired of the same, old, bruised apples in West and Upper, then grab some friends and go off campus to Bowman Orchards, a 98 acre local farm. Here, you can indulge on apples and the amazing products they produce, including apple pie, doughnuts, cider, butter and more.
Bowman Orchards, located approximately 15 minutes away from campus in Rexford, is full of apple picking fun and tons of activities. Bought and opened to the public in 1952, original owners Ray and Bev Bowman began a long-lasting and strong family business of growing, picking and selling apple-based products. Raising their five children in the brick and white house still located on the farm today, Ray and Bev taught their kids (Danny, Dave, Jackie, Kevin and Rick) the ways of the apple farm and, year by year, they all worked together to make the farm grow and thrive.
In 2004, Kevin, one of the Bowman sons, purchased the farm from his parents with his wife and children and is hoping to continue the tradition of passing it down from generation to generation. According to their website, both Kevin and his wife continue to learn about new techniques and technology that can further improve their farm.
Bowman Orchards features “Pick Your Own” apples every apple season, as well as berries, peaches and pumpkins.
The Bowmans provide an extensive amount of apple varieties, including Cortland, Empire, Fortune, Fuji, Gala, Ginger Gold, Golden Delicious, Golden Supreme, Granny Smith, Greening, Honeycrisp, Idared, Jerseymac, Jonagold, Jonamac, Macoun, McIntosh, Redcort, Red Delicious, Ruby Jon, Sansa, Shamrock, Spartamac, Spigold, Suncrisp, Twenty Ounce and Zestar.
The trees are all low to the ground, making it easier for everyone, especially young children, to get the most out of their apple picking experiences.
The farm also offers pumpkin picking from late September to mid-October. Pumpkin picking and carving at home with family for Halloween is definitely something one may miss at college. So get in the Halloween spirit and go take advantage of the opportunity to pumpkin pick with a group of friends!
Also featured at Bowman during the fall season are pony rides, hayrides, a new corn maze and the original and exciting apple cannon. The apple cannon is a fun way to dispose of rotten apples. Using a small and safe compressed air cannon, visitors can shoot apples at targets and win prizes.
The farm also has a petting zoo, where anyone can feed (for a quarter a handful) sheep, goats and alpacas.
After apple picking, visitors can go to the farm store, browse and buy tons of delicious apple-based products and food made from their original recipes. The overwhelming options can keep you browsing for hours, tasting and trying various foods, like kettle corn and apple butter. The shopping area has multiple stores and stands to purchase food.
“The best stand was definitely the one with the apple cider doughnuts. They were honestly the most incredible doughnuts I have ever tasted,” says softball player Molly O’Brien ‘16.
She and the Union softball team paid a visit to the farm last fall, and are more than eager to return again this year for more apple picking, doughnuts and team bonding.
Along with apple cider doughnuts, the store and stands contain other delicious homemade goods, including apple cider, kettle corn, ice cream, fudge, various apple butters and jams and a vast array of delicious apple pastries.
Bowman Orchards is just one of many local farms located near Union’s campus. On top of having a great time with friends and taking a break from homework, visiting these farms is a great way to support the local community!