Photo by Abbi Hoiles Gee. See more of her photos of Eberly's here.
Every fall growing up, my family would drive out to Eberly's Orchard (previously blogged about when by friends Abbi and Michael made a visit with my parents a few years ago), near my grandparents' house in North Liberty, Indiana. Don Eberly, who still runs the orchard, but on a more limited scale, is a local hero former-school bus driver and a farmer, with a penchant for puns and folksy sayings. His apple barn is full of bags of apple varieties (including some heirloom varieties, like Northern Spies), folk art and handwritten signs with witty political messages and jokes.
As I recall, there were old metal toy tractors for kids to ride on, and bins of gourds and pumpkins. My favorite part though, aside from using the straight wooden ladder to reach the high-hanging fruit, was probably watching the apples go through the cider press, and tasting a sample, which Don would give us, straight from the spout. Eberly's is still my favorite orchard, hands down, even after my time in Vermont-- land of apples.
In keeping with our family tradition, my mom, grandma and aunt went out to Eberly's last weekend to pick apples and share stories of the old North Liberty days. This is my grandma Georgette, talking to Don at his cash register.
My mom made a pie from Eberly's apples for my dad before he left for a business trip. Her apple pies always have the most delicious crumb topping. They enjoyed it out on their porch on one of the last evenings of summer.