|Mother Lode Orchard
It's a lesser-known gem along the Apple Hill trail
it's called Mother
Lode Orchard. This sixty-acre farm and store offers an array of fresh
winter fruits, veggies, tasty homemade jams and ciders. Dick and Arlene
Bethell help run the operation and love to welcome visitors.
Dick started growing apples at the orchard in the early sixties, pouring
his heart and soul into the operation. And like most farmers he's endured
many hardships along the way, but giving up was never an option. Says
Dick, "I've invested too much of myself, mostly time, to give up
on it until we can get over the top. But it has been a joy to see the
The whole Apple Hill region has evolved from a farming community to a
real tourist destination. And according to Dick that popularity will ensure
the land remains in agriculture. "We've managed to have enough success
with Apple Hill to keep it in agriculture for a long time hopefully forever,"
Dick started out growing Golden Delicious apples and has added an array
of new varieties like Gala, Braeburn, Fuji and Empire. The apple season
usually runs late July through mid-October. And the apples grown here
are made into everything from apple butter to apple cider.
At Mother Lode Orchards you'll find everything from fresh pears to pumpkins,
potatoes and squash. And some of that produce ends up in a selection of
unique jams like a pear-raspberry combo called "Praz" and a
popular Burgundy Cherry sauce. The farm is open to the public from late
August into the third week of December.
Arlene Bethell enjoys coming up with new ways to use the farm's bounty.
Including this recipe for a delicious butternut squash and roasted garlic
Butternut Squash & Roasted Garlic Bisque Recipe
2 whole heads of garlic/halved crosswise
1 teaspoon olive oil
¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter
3 cups chopped onion
¾ cups chopped carrots
½ cup chopped celery
4 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into one-inch pieces
6 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon whipping cream
Preheat oven to 350F. Rub cut surfaces of garlic with oil. Put halves
back together to resemble heads. Wrap each tightly in foil; bake until
tender, about 40 minutes. Let garlic cool in foil.
Mix butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and
celery: sauté until onions begin to soften, about five minutes.
Add squash, broth and 2 tablespoons sage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat,
simmer uncovered until squash is tender; about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, unwrap garlic. Squeeze from skins into small bowl and discard
skins. Mash garlic with fork until smooth.
Stir garlic into soup. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until
smooth. Return to pot. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Refrigerate uncovered
until cold. Cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to simmer before continuing.)
Stir in ½ cup cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer
soup to tureen. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon of cream. Sprinkle with
remaining 1 teaspoon of sage.
For more information on Mother Lode Orchard visit: www.motherlodeorchards.com