50 Years of Apple Hill: The Best Spots of a Local Icon

How many couples do you know that celebrate a 50th anniversary? How many organizations last that long and are even stronger at fifty years?

apple hill kid

Next year, 2014, Apple Hill® will reach that milestone. We’re ready to celebrate with you and are already planning amazing things showcasing our half a century of success. And being 49 is also pretty sweet!

What began as an attempt to woo customers to buy directly from the farmer, has turned into a destination for families all across northern California and western Nevada. There’s something different about buying fruit from the farmer who grows it, rather than picking out trucked in fruit at a grocery store. Many customers have created relationships with our members. It’s not unusual for mothers and fathers to say their parents brought them to visit when they were children. That sure makes a farmer proud – and feeling a little bit older?  In the beginning, the organization used baked goods to entice visitors to see what our area offered. Apple Hill® wives baked every type of delicious apple dish their personal cookbooks contained. The founders called it a “Smorgy” and served mouth-watering desserts to rave reviews. The success of that effort increased so much that many of those members decided to build their own bake shops to personalize the experience.

How do we know our “experiment” has worked? Just this year, we’ve added four new members. And we diversified long ago to include flowers, all types of berries, early stone fruit, olive oil, pumpkins, a brewery,  Christmas trees and, oh yes, so many award-winning wineries and their vineyards. Apple Hill® is so much more than apples and October!  After almost 50 years, our membership continues to adapt and change to offer just about everything a visitor could want … and we will continue to improve with age.

Our Favorite Stops of Apple Hill

Bolster’s Hill Top Ranch (#45)
2000 Larsen Drive
Camino, CA
(530) 644-2230
Season: Daily, Labor Day Weekend to November 10
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Nothing says fall like picking your own apples! Choose from nine different varieties at Bolster’s including Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith for your pie baking or filling your fruit bowl. Kids will love seeing apple cider made on site and after you sample the fresh, delicious juice you’ll be sure to be bringing Apple Hill’s signature drink home.

High Hill Ranch (#1)
2901 High Hill Rd.
Placerville, CA 95709
(530) 644-1973
Season: Daily, Labor Day – Dec. 24
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Number one on the map and #1 for most popular spot in Apple Hill. This beautiful cliff-top ranch has an expansive picnic area with panoramic view surrounding a fishing pond. It bustles with people enjoying the festive atmosphere, craft and produce shopping, apple cider tasting, visiting the bakery and nearby Fudge Factory Farm, or taking pony and hay rides. You could spend a whole day here, but don’t leave without trying an apple cider shake!

Boa Vista Orchards (#11)
2952 Carson Rd.
Placerville, CA 95709
(530) 622-5522
Season: Year round
Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

One of the busiest spots in all of Apple Hill off the main road, it’s worth the stop. It has Apple Hill offers from the extensive bakery of delicious apple desserts to unique and varieties of produce and products at their roadside stand. For those who like to shop also crafts and gifts. If you want to avoid crowds come early or try the weekdays.

Kids Inc. (#5)
3245 North Canyon Rd.
Camino, CA 95709
(530) 622-0184
Season: Daily, Sept. – Nov., Sat. & Sun. thru Dec. 11
Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.Kids will love the u-pick pumpkins, farm animals, crafts, and corn maze. Parents will love the breathtaking view as kids frolic in the picnic area. Delicious treats include caramel apples, apple pies, strudel, turnovers, apple butter, jams, jellies and cider – if you eat too much of it, you can
walk it off on the scenic nature trail!

Abel’s Apple Acres (#38)
2345 Carson Rd.
Placerville, CA 95709
(530) 626-6521
Season: Daily, Labor Day to Dec. 24
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Get here early for the best hot apple doughnuts! The bakery offers everything from fresh traditional apple pie, fritters, strudel and turnovers to frozen pies (apricot apple!) you can save to reheat for a Thanksgiving dinner. Their country store offers a wide selection of Apple butter, caramel apples, produce and crafts but the kids will love the hay maze, pony rides, candle making and pumpkin patch.

Willow Pond Farm (#34)
2731 Jacquier Rd.
Placerville, CA 95709
(530) 295-8090
Season: Daily, except Tues., Sept. to Nov.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Want to get away from the crowds? Pick your own apples at this smaller farm away from the main traffic that also has organic produce. Kids will enjoy free paddle boating or picnicking on the pond as they munch their fresh picked apples.

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