No shortage of apples in Pennsylvania

Hollabaugh visit montageOne of the things that surprised me when I moved to Iowa — and oh, there were plenty of things that surprised me — was how many apple orchards there are around here.

My parents live in Adams County, Pennsylvania, home to apple orchards that dot the landscape as you drive down country roads, and that’s where I have become most accustomed to the apple trees, with their blossoms and heavy fruit. Iowa wasn’t where I expected to find apples.

This year wasn’t so great for Iowa apple farmers. We had weird, warm weather early, which made the buds blossom on the trees, followed by a hard freeze. Parts of the state escaped apple blossom trauma, but around Iowa City, things weren’t great for local farmers.

Pennyslvania escaped Iowa’s anti-apple weather. In Pennsylvania this year, there appeared to be no shortage of apples.

In October, I visited my parents for the weekend, and Mom and I made a trip to Hollabaugh Bros. Fruit Farm and Market, a sprawling barn that features apples, pears, and other locally-grown produce, along with more locally-produced jams, jellies and other goods than you can imagine. On Fall weekends, the place is packed, crawling with area residents (and the occasional, camera-lugging out-of-town guest) who fill bags of varying sizes to the brim with bulk apples, then stagger to their cars, visions of crisps and crumbles and pies dancing in their heads.

This time around, a Japanese man lamented the lack of Asian pears. Adams County might not have lost their apples, but it was, apparently, not a good year for Asian pear production, and they were running at a hefty price while we were there. But there were local persimmons, lined up like little pillows of sweetness, and at least a dozen varieties of apples and pears, including Bosc pears, banana apples, and the trend-eriffic Honeycrisp.

I had plenty of time for photography, since a 10-pound bag of apples does not make for a non-awkward carry-on item, but I have to admit I was a bit wistful not to be filling up my bag with varieties perfect for eating and cooking. Back when I lived in D.C., it didn’t seem like Fall if I didn’t make a pilgrimage up to see my parents and hit Hollabaugh’s, always buying more than I could comfortably eat. This time, I had to leave with just the images. After all, they’re much easier to take on the plane.

And, sometimes, much more amusing.

Mom and I get on the bus

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Kay Hollabaugh for stopping in the middle of her busy day to take this picture of me and my Mom. Kay said, “I don’t know about that bus driver…”

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18 Responses to “No shortage of apples in Pennsylvania”


  1. 1 steven November 13, 2007 at 8:57 am

    Sigh, my local cider mill burned down while I was in Italy. Apples are in good supply, but I like going to the mill.

  2. 2 inadvertentgardener November 13, 2007 at 9:00 am

    Steven, I’ve never been to a cider mill…I bet they smell incredible.

  3. 3 LindaK18 November 13, 2007 at 10:00 am

    MMMmmm I can smell that cider churning… I used to make trips up into New York to visit their apple cider mills. HEAVEN! We would ride around on a tractor pulled hay wagon, pick a couple of bags of apples of LOTS of varieties (tasting at least one apple from every variety as we went) then head back to the cider mill and watch and smell for awhile – then eat and eat and eat all the apples we could handle. My Kids & Grandkids STILL have great memories of those wonderful trips. Tell me, is it still out there?

  4. 4 inadvertentgardener November 13, 2007 at 10:40 am

    LindaK, those trips sound amazing!

  5. 5 Jen-Ben November 13, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    Okay, if I wasn’t laughing so hard, I might find that photo a little frightening. You have a violent look on your face–just who you want carting your kids around. Your mom looks like your driving is scaring the bejeeus out of her.

  6. 6 inadvertentgardener November 13, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    Jen-Ben, I thought you’d appreciate that one…it reminds me of driving around Staunton with my hoodie hood tied up over my head making faces at the other drivers. Only that time (OK, maybe times), the vehicle was real, and I was scaring the bejeesus out of you!

  7. 7 Chigiy November 13, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    Nothing says fall like apples and pumkins.
    I like this post but the picture is very cute.
    Enjoy your mom, she looks like lots of fun.

  8. 8 Jen-Ben November 13, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    Hey, did you know they have a Taco Bell in Staunton?

  9. 9 Jen-Ben November 13, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    Speaking of scary driving in the aforesaid Land o’ Statlers, which one of us drove over the sidewalk after Scott Carr got his eggs served runny?

  10. 10 inadvertentgardener November 13, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    Chigiy, she’s definitely lots of fun.

    Jen-Ben, not only do I know about said Taco Bell, I went to great pains to spend the very first dollar spent there when it opened! And you, my friend…you were the one who drove over the sidewalk. That was a wild ride, but totally worth it.

  11. 11 Annette November 13, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    I don’t know – that driver does look a bit deranged.

    Wish we could grow apples down here, but alas, there are definitely not enough chill hours for that.

  12. 12 inadvertentgardener November 14, 2007 at 7:14 am

    Annette, I plead the fifth about the whole driver thing. :-)

  13. 13 Robin (Bumblebee) November 14, 2007 at 5:09 pm

    You can carry a LOT more than 10 lbs of apples on a plane! We have a family friend who always travels with a BIG extra suitcase to bring back foods from wherever she visits. (That’s the LEAST of her odd habits, by the way.)

    –Robin (Bumblebee)

  14. 14 anniebetty November 14, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    Points of interest … or not …
    1. Now I know why it was good I was driving when you were here.
    2. You can carry many pounds of food on a plane. I always bring about 20 pounds of cheese home from Wisconsin …
    3. Ladies, Staunton is on the bounce. It has become the precious place to be in the Shenandoah Valley since JMU ate Harrisonburg, and Waynesboro lost its way.
    4. Did I ever mention that my grandfather’s picture hangs in one of the hallowed halls of Mary Baldwin? I don’t remember which one.

  15. 15 Katherine November 15, 2007 at 10:57 am

    That bus photo is priceless!

    Love,
    Katherine

  16. 16 inadvertentgardener November 15, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    Robin, that’s a committed foodie, there!

    AB, your grandfather’s picture hanging at MBC? You never, ever told me that.

    Katherine, thanks!

  17. 17 anniebetty November 16, 2007 at 8:24 am

    Oh yes. I will research the details. He founded the Waynesboro News Virginia back in the 20s and was Mr. Philanthropy. He’s also the reason that the interstate, if you look at a map, jags over and goes through Waynesboro … he felt that was key to the town’s success and called in favors. What else? Oh there is more … but I’ll save it for some delightful lull in a conversation on another day.

  18. 18 inadvertentgardener November 16, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    AB, I learn something new from you every time we communicate. Thanks for the info! That’s very wild about the Interstate…


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