When the weather cools and the leaves begin to change, it means only one thing… it’s local apple season!
Whether you eat them out of hand or bake them into a sweet pie or crisp, you’re always guaranteed a fresh and robust assortment of local apples in our Produce Department. That’s all thanks to local growers like Joe Burnham and his team at Burnham Orchards.
Located in Berlin Heights, Ohio, Burnham Orchards has been around for more than 200 years. After receiving a land grant in 1815, the Burnham family decided to use their resources to start a family farm. Over the years, their agricultural endeavor has expanded into more than they could have ever imagined! Although the farm has been used to grow many things over the past two centuries, it was not until the mid 1900s, under the leadership of Joe’s father, that the farm became exclusive to fruit.
Today, Burnham Orchards is run by the sixth generation of family growers who work year-round to tend to 35 acres of peaches, 200 acres of apples and some 600 acres of additional land.
We were introduced to Burnham Orchards more than 15 years ago when we partnered with Fruit Growers Marketing Association – an organization dedicated to representing small local growers to retailers to ensure that they have a place in the apple market. As a company committed to supporting local growers, our partnership with Fruit Growers Marketing Association and Burnham Orchards was a natural fit.
Although we only get to enjoy these delicious local apples a few months out of the year, Joe and the team are in the orchard most of the year producing the perfect pickable fruit! In fact, the growing process starts in the spring with pruning and first bloom and comes to fruition in late August with the first harvest. With so many apple varieties, the harvesting season generally runs into Mid-November, which means that we get fresh local apples throughout the entire Fall season.
Speaking of apple varieties, Burnham Orchards grows about 28 different types of apples every year and they are always looking to grow new varieties based on consumer feedback. Over the last 10 – 15 years, Honeycrisp apples have become the most highly demanded variety, but Joe and his team have also seen the Evercrisp apple, a cross between Fuji and Honeycrisp, capture the taste buds of consumers around the state. In addition to these favorites, Burnham Orchards is also getting creative with their growing practices by planting new varieties like the Ludacrisp apple, which tastes like Juicy Fruit gum, according to Joe.
Who would have thought that there could be so much to know and love about local apples? As we celebrate the season, be sure to grab a few fresh picks from our local apple selection and take a bite out of fall!