As the leaves begin to change and the temperature slowly drops, the time for many fall traditions comes around again. The desire to drink hot apple cider and pick out pumpkins burns in the back of our minds. But where are the best places to do something like that? Having only moved here last February, this Examiner was asking that very same question and just how far I would have to go for it.
Only fifteen minutes away from Downtown Indianapolis, Adrian Orchards should be seriously considered as a stop on your family's fall outings. The first thing you will notice when you walk into the small store, is the way it smells. It can only be described as a rich wood smell that one only finds in old farm stores. It's smell alone brings up many happy memories of the traditional fruit stand that is almost extinct these days. Much like the old fruit stands, Adrian Orchards is filled with many different kinds of apples from July to February. It also offers many other delicious products like jams and jellies and baked goods.
Now in it's 88th year, this family owned business must be doing something right. It was established in 1925 by a George and Edith Adrian and is now run by their great grandson George J. Adrian and his wife, Monika Adrian, who was nice enough to take the time and talk to this Examiner. When asked what she was most proud of for the orchard, she had a couple things to say. First of which was that she is, “most proud of my husband who still holds the world record for fastest apple picker.” It's true, George J. Adrian was able to pick 365 ½ bushels of apples in 8 hours! This is extremely helpful since they pick all the apples themselves. Don't let this discourage you though, even though you can't pick your own apples their are benefits of having them picked for you that Adrian Orchards offers. Not only do you get perfect apples that have been cleaned and checked for you, the price of these apples is much lower than what you would have to pay if you picked your own. So less work for less money. The pumpkins are pick your own and they have Halloween egg hunts in the pumpkin patch for a prize, so there is plenty to keep the kids happy!
The second thing that Mrs. Adrian is most proud of is, “the education that the orchard provides. So many kids today think that apples grow in a box in the back of Kroger. Here they learn everything there is learn about what it takes to grow apples and just where apples come from.” School groups are always coming for field trips and learning the truth about buying local, that “Kroger doesn't count”. The best and most assuring part of the education the orchard provides is that, “coming here is not just a day out of school. Students come here and they get a full lesson not a day off. I tell the parents to relax and step back”. Not only does Adrian Orchard provide delicious apples and cider, it also gives back to the community.
Maybe you don't like apples and you get your pumpkins from your church. Well, then you should seriously make the trip for their cider and apple donuts alone! The apple donuts are delicious and soft with a sweet apple glaze. At $.80 a doughnut, you can get two or three and then wash it down with a cup of Apple Cider. The cider is hand pressed daily and you can actually taste the apple in it. You will wonder what you have been drinking all this time because it taste like no other cider! It is one of the three best in Indiana. And at $.60 a cup, it is a real bargain! Best part, they sell it through the holiday season, so you can have some for every holiday occasion.
Being just outside of the city and having a large housing development behind it, Adrian Orchards may look a little out of place, but it is truly a testament to urban gardening. No matter what you get there you can feel good for having bought locally too. So be sure to add Adrian Orchards to your list of “places to go” or you will surly be remiss!