Brian Jacobson
Autumn hotspot

A look at Apple Holler, Borzynski’s

By - Oct 24th, 2011 04:00 am
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It’s around noon at Apple Holler, the playground of country living just off the interstate in Sturtevant, and excited shouts of children blend with the sound of cash registers ringing up sales of pumpkins and tickets. Inside one storefront, the smell of apple pie and cinnamon is intoxicating.

Apple Holler includes a small tavern-style restaurant with a dinner theater, which flourishes in the later part of the year. There are deli counters, racks of home-spun products and a bakery. Jugs of apple cider fill another adjoining barn space.

In the fall season, Apple Holler ups the ante with haywagon rides, pick your own apples or pumpkins, pig races, an orchard maze, kiddie park, goat high-rise walkway, and live cabaret music. A stroll within the perimeter brings the words “tourist trap” to mind. It’s $5 per person to get in ($3 on weekdays) and $5 to park on weekends (free on weekdays and at all time for those patronizing the restaurant only). You can park along a frontage road for free — if you can find a space.

You’ll find the real charm of Apple Holler back in the vast apple orchards. The variety of species is impressive. Walk far enough down, and the freeway sounds start to fade away. Walk a little farther, and the tumult of Apple Holler’s midway drops to a twitter.

Lower boughs of most of the trees in the front section and along obvious paths had been pretty well picked over when I walked through. But the upper branches were absolutely bursting with red and yellow apples.  Deeper in the orchard, low-hanging fruit was there for the picking. It’s the Garden of Eden, take a bite. Apples are shinier in the grocery store, but they’re sweeter in the field.

Apple Holler provides bags so that you can pick your own as long as you pre-pay. You can rent a rugged wagon, which I highly recommend. (A few couples struggled with their plastic and aluminum strollers down the uneven dirt lanes). Prices are quite fair.

Up the road at Borzynski’s Farm & Floral Market

Borzynski’s is north and east of Apple Holler. This venture has grown over the years from a small greenhouse outfit to a full-scale, year-round business as a purveyor of deli, chocolates, fudge, sleek hand-crafted gifts and decor, kitchen stock and gadgets, and Wisconsin-specific products. Borzynski’s also offers dining in enclosed patios.

 

The main fall attraction is an epic 8-acre Corn Maze in the shape of a trumpeting elephant. It’s hard to understand the family that got lost in a corn maze and called 9-1-1. (Uh, it’s corn. Walk through it.) But the panic is a little easier to understand amidst such a vast maze as the one at Borzynski’s. Luckily, for a little more money, you can buy a clever decoder to guide you through it. They also have an evening version of the maze, all spooky and stuff.

Out front, plenty of fine-looking pumpkins stand in neat rows. They’re yours for 30 cents a pound.  There are even some funky white ones. There are also plenty of warty gourds, various delicious squash, and decorative Indian corn.

I’m used to going to Borzynski’s in the off-season and parking right outside the door. So having to park at the far end was a little alarming, but not that arduous. They also have haywagon rides there.

The prices at Borzynski’s indoor farmer’s market are not always cheap, and now many of the products bear the Borzynski name instead of the names of individual local vendors. (Apple Holler and Elegant Farmer, too, showed this single-branding trend likened to grocery store chain brands.) But the quality makes up for any misgivings.  As I examined various fruit pies on one table, I suddenly realized they were all still warm. Now that’s fresh.

Crystallized sugar covered the crust of the all-natural cherry pie. It was pure joy. I’m not ashamed to say that one day later, it is all gone.

Keep watching ThirdCoast Digest for a Halloween Guide, and a few other profiles of Wisconsin-area autumn attractions.  For more information on Apple Holler or Borzynski’s Farm & Floral Market, visit their websites.

Categories: Life & Leisure

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