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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Apple Hill time from the Mountain Democrat, Placeville newspaper

"Labor Day weekend is the official end of summer no matter what the weather says - and the official beginning of the 42nd Apple Hill season.Bartlett pears, Gala, Macintosh, Jonathan, Jonagold, Winesap and Prime Red apples are being harvested at the orchards and kept cold for the visitors who will be coming in droves for the next three and a half months. More than 50 ranches offer a variety of fruit, pumpkins, pies, wines, entertainment, crafts and food.Visitors bring their families, appetites and cameras - and they all leave satisfied. Anywhere one chooses to stop and sample the offerings in Apple Hill is sure to please, but each year, with more than 50 ranches, there is something that even long-time annual visitors may not have tried yet.Bodhaine Ranch, for example, on Cable Road, offers organic apples and scrumptious pies, including their award winning Blackberry Sour Cream Apple pie. Last year owners Jong and Phoebe Hong decided to offer something a little different. Taking a cue from the pasties that Cornish miners carried in lunch buckets years ago, Phoebe Hong began making pasties, chicken pot pies and spicy beef espanitas in addition to the traditional barbecue and hot dogs.“They are easy to hold and eat while people walk around and look at things,” said Phoebe. Repeat customers have already surfaced and are eager to try this year's offerings. In the 2007 season, Bodhaine's plans to offer a pear pie in honor of the orchard's original fruit.Goyette's North Canyon Ranch doesn't offer pies or crafts, because long ago the Goyettes decided that they wanted to remain a small ranch offering apples and pumpkins and an opportunity for visitors to pick their own. If you've never picked your own apples, it's a great way to get a feel for how an orchard works."

Bed and breakfast inns are located just a few minutes from Apple Hill. Make it a weekend to remember. Apple Hill is open every day and is less crowded during the week.

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