Would you like to win a free peck of apples? Here's the scoop:

A couple years ago, we planted a few apple trees, and it turns out that they are not the variety they were supposed to be. We aren't quite sure what variety they are, we just know they taste delicious (dare we say - similar to Fuji?).

So this is where you come into play. Come on out this weekend, give the apple a try, and help us give it a name. *It's important to know that we do not have a large supply of this variety, so I would highly suggest getting out this weekend.* You will be able to submit you suggestions via Facebook (post on our wall or send us a message), via Twitter (#BranstoolAppleNaming), or via email. The person who submits the most creative, most appropriate name (decided by Marshall) will get a free peck of apples.

You have until next Friday (09/19) to get your name suggestion submitted. Good luck!


Last fall, I stumbled across a delicious-sounding recipe on Bake by Rachel. I was hungry and intrigued, so I gave it a try. 

Oh. My. Goodness.  It's a sin how good it was. So I decided to reprise it this year, and share it with all of you.

I enlisted the help of my 4-year-old and 20-month-old nieces, and had an absolute blast making such a scrumptious afternoon treat.



  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup, plus 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg (farm fresh is always best)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon


  • 8 cups apples (I used six: 1 Ginger Gold, 1 Elstar, 3 Honeycrisp, 1 Swiss Gourmet)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Mix together the first four cookie ingredients (cream of tartar, salt, baking powder, flour) and set aside.
  2. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream the softened butter and the 1/3 cup sugar.
  3. Add the egg. Combine.
  4. Mix in the combined dry ingredients (from Step 1) until fully incorporated.
  5. Refrigerate the cookie dough for several hours. (Mine chilled for four hours.)
  6. Relax: take a nap, walk the dog, bingewatch Netflix, come visit us at the Orhcard (and get your apples for the next step). Do whatever tickles your fancy to kill time until the dough is easy to handle.
  7. Once the dough has been chilling a while and you're ready to continue, grab it out of the fridge and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
  8. Combine the 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar (from cookie ingredients) in a small bowl and set aside for later.
  9. Mix the brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a large bowl. Peel, slice and core the apples and add them to the bowl with the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture; toss to coat.
  10.  Place the apples in an 8x8 baking dish.
  11. Return to the cookie dough: roll into 1-inch balls and coat with the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Using your hands, flatten the balls slightly and place on top of apples. (I had a lot of the cinnamon/sugar left over, so I sprinkled some of it on the top.)
  12. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the topping is a nice golden-brown.
  13. ENJOY!


I have certainly spent my fair share of time at farmers markets. Though most of the time I am busy selling peaches and apples, sometimes I get lucky and can steal away for a few minutes. When I can, I love browsing the fresh produce and homemade products, and I love swapping stories with the other vendors. While I make no claims to be an expert on maneuvering the markets, I can certainly offer the tips I have learned from my experience as a vendor and a shopper. Hopefully, you can implement these suggestions to ensure an easy-going market experience:

  • Arrive Early: Several vendors have established loyal customers who are already waiting when the selling bell sounds. Because the best produce sells the quickest, getting to the market early (not just on time), will help ensure that you have the best selection possible.
  • Invest in reusable bags, and bring them: Not all vendors are equipped with bags, and if they are, they may not be large enough or strong enough to accommodate your other purchases. And who wants to juggle six or seven bags? Not me. Most reusable bags are large and sturdy so you can combine all of your purchases into just a couple of bags.
  • Bring cash: Cash, specifically small bills, is much easier and much quicker than credit cards - and is accepted by all vendors. Not every seller will have a way to accept credit cards, and not all are signed up for the various coupons or tokens offered by the farmers market. Trust me, sticking with cash is the way to go.
  • Leave your car at home: Not all farmers markets have good nearby parking options, so trying to find a place to park can be a hassle. If you live close enough, take the opportunity to get your exercise and walk to the market. You could also ride your bike, plan on parking farther away, or have someone drop you off and pick you up.
  • Get chatty: Don't hesitate to ask questions or get to know your vendors. One of my favorite parts about selling at farmers markets is conversing with the customers. After a few weeks, repeat customers at each market begin to stand out, and it's nice to develop relationships with them. This is also an easy way to get all the info you need about the produce. No one knows better than the producer how to properly store and/or ripen their products. 
  • Do some pre-shopping research: Most businesses are online to some extent now, so check out a list of vendors that are going to be at your market. Then check out those vendors' websites so you can read up on their products and practices. That way, you know ahead of time who will be offering what, and whether or not they will be organic, grain-fed or grass fed, etc. 
  • Be flexible: I always take two lists - one of things I absolutely need, and another of things I'd like to get, but could do without if they aren't within my budget or don't look the best that week. It's also important to keep an open mind about what may be at the market that you didn't think of in advance.  It is easy to get frustrated if you have a long list of things you can’t leave without and the producers didn’t bring it that particular week, or the pickings are slim. Believe me, I would love to be able to count on the farmers markets week in and week out for my grocery runs, but sometimes that’s just not feasible. Taking recipes with you can replace making a list, or allow you to get creative with substitutes available at the market.
  • Plan for patience: Be prepared to wait in lines. Sometimes popular vendors gather quite the crowd, and sometimes vendors get caught up with a customer for a few extra minutes. Odds are, they are willing to spend just as much time with you.
  • Browse before buying: Don't buy something the first time you see it. Rather, take a few minutes and stroll through the entire market, comparing prices and quality.

Again, I am not a professional at navigating farmers markets. But my experience as a vendor and a shopper has taught me how to make it fun and stress-free shopping trip. Hopefully you can use these tips to enhance your time at the market.


It's official: going to the produce auctions is the best part of working at Branstool Orchards. Thursday I tagged along with Marshall and took my handy-dandy camera to get a few shots of him doin' his thang. But at the end of the trip I was busting at the seams with a blog post. So here is your sneak peak into a morning at the Mt. Hope Auction.

Marshall and I got an early start and rolled out of the orchard shortly after 8 a.m. The sale starts at 10 a.m., and it takes about an hour and 10 minutes to get there in the big box truck. After a quick coffee stop, we pulled in about 9:30 a.m. 

First order of business was to unload our apples and skids (or catch up with other auction-goers if you're Marshall):

After the truck was empty and ready to be filled, we parked it against the loading docks and headed to check in. Once registered, we had to tag the produce we brought:

It was then time to survey the produce and figure out what would be good to bid on and bring into the market:

It's at this point that Marshall dropped the bomb on me - he wasn't going to be the only one bidding. Uhhh.. what? Me? Make purchasing decisions? HA! I just came to take pictures and weigh in on what would look good in the market. Apparently Marshall had other ideas. (They apparently have two different auctioneers working at two different areas - information I think I would have liked to have had before agreeing to go!) I was immediately nervous. What if I paid too much for something?! (I did.) What if I forgot to bid on something?! (I did.) What if I got flustered and bid (and won!) something I wasn't supposed to?! (I did.) But even with all those mistakes, I still have my job.

Bidding started a little before 10 a.m., but I was in my spot and ready to go. I was blown away with how quickly the selling moved along.  I knew auctioneers called out quickly, but I didn't realize it was that fast. Whoa. It took a couple of rounds for me to keep up with the price changes and the dialogue. But I think I finally got a grip and was able to make some good purchasing decisions. 

Marshall and I kept in touch throughout the auction, making sure we didn't buy duplicates (we did) and just refreshing each other on what all we wanted to get. And of course, I wanted to get a few quick pictures of Marshall bidding:

The bidding finally wrapped up around noon, and it was time to check out and load up the truck:

After we loaded everything onto the truck, we double checked our receipt to make sure we had everything (and notice to total price, haha!), and then we were ready to head home:

We pulled back into our market around 1:30 and it was time to unload, figure prices, and get the produce out for sale. With such a full truck, it took four of us a good two hours to get everything ready for the weekend:

It was a long day, but well worth it. My main take-aways from my first (and hopefully not last!) trip to the produce auctions:

  1. It's not as easy as it looks. Keeping up with the experienced buyers requires extreme concentration and is very intimidating.
  2. People mean business. I don't know how many times I got knocked out of the way if I was up front and not bidding. Crazy!
  3. Marshall loves chocolate-vanilla twist soft serve ice cream. No. Really. He had two of them. Before 11:30 a.m.

I hope you come check out all the beautiful veggies we stocked up on for the weekend - we're very proud of what we have to offer!


We're back! Almost...

Hopefully you've missed the orchard just as much as the orchard has missed you.

It was a long, enjoyable offseason for all of us at the orchard. Except for that little glitch when we lost our peach crop to those nasty, cold temperatures at the beginning of the year. Ooops.. you hadn't heard yet? Well then maybe you should head on over to our Facebook page and like us so you can get your info a wee bit sooner. Or maybe I need to do a better job of maintaining the blog in the offseason? Let's compromise; you like us on Facebook, and I'll make a better effort to give this blog more attention between seasons. Deal? Deal. (Trust me, you'll thank me later for guiding you to our Facebook.)

But in the meantime, I'll fill you in on what you've missed so far...

So. Our peaches aren't going to be here this summer...

That doesn't mean you shouldn't be. Even though those bitter temperatures wiped out our peaches, we still have plenty of excitement planned for the 2014 season. 

I know you're all going to miss the summer staple of sinfully-sweet peach juice dripping down your chin. Believe me, so am I. But there are some pretty awesome apples that ripen in August that can easily be overlooked when there's a big 'ole spotlight on the peaches. "But apples are the fruit of fall and peaches are the summer fruit.." Blah, blah, blah. Yes, peaches are spectacular and we're all going to miss them dearly this summer. But give the summer apples a chance. Zestar and Tsugaru are two summer apples that top many customers' favorites list. Mollie's Delicious is a traditional flavor that is frequently requested, and Initial and Blondee are two newer varieties that are easy to fall in love with. Don't count the apples out just because they ripen in August; they can be just as refreshing, sticky and delightfully tasty as peaches. 

For those of you who just. can't. bear. the thought of walking into the market and not smelling peaches, rest assured. Marshall is working diligently to make connections with a couple of out-of-state orchards who may be able to supply us with peaches. We are also very grateful that all of our trees survived the brutal temperatures, so we still have another shot in 2015.

Fall festivities in the works...

In regards to whether or not there should be a special Branstool Orchards festival in the fall, our Facebook fans all seem to agree that it should happen. So, I guess that means we hafta, huh? Good! We're really excited about how enthusiastic everyone was about this idea, and we have already begun planning a fantastic event, just for you. Picture games, face painting, hayrides and more! There are still a lot of details to work out, but we're off to an exciting start. Feel free to e-mail us,  leave us a comment on Facebook, or tweet using #BranstoolFestival with any suggestions you may have that will help make the festival a blast for everyone. 

We threw even more social media into the mix...

Juuust in case you can't get enough of our tweets, blogs, e-newsletters and Facebook posts, you can now connect with us on Pinterest, too. Make sure you follow us on Pinterest to keep up with our favorite recipes, decor suggestions and fall festival possibilities. If you follow us, we'll follow you back and, who knows? Maybe one of your pins will inspire a great event at the festival or a new display in the market.

That's a wrap...

So, I believe you are all caught up now. Stay tuned for more updates, and again.. follow us on social media for the most frequent updates.

See you all soon!

Closed for the Season

Branstool Orchards is now closed for the season. 

We would like to extended our utmost gratitude to all of our wonderful customers for supporting us through yet another season.  We appreciate each and every one of you, and know we would not succeed without you, nor would we enjoy what we do without you. 

To stay connected with us during the offseason, feel free to like our page on Facebook.

Again, thank you for your generous support this season, and we look forward to seeing you all again next summer.

Enjoy your holidays!

Farmers Market Trifecta

Here is the rundown for the farmers markets on Saturday, 10/12:

  1. Clintonville:
  • Idared
  • Galarina
  • Jonagold
  • Pinova
  • Melrose
  • Suncrisp
  • Florina

      2. Granville

  • Idared 
  • Galarin
  • Jonagold
  • Pinova
  • Melrose
  • Suncrisp
  • Florina
  • Golden Delicious

     3. New Albany

  • Idared
  • Galarina
  • Jonagold
  • Pinova
  • Melrose

U-Pick Varieties this weekend:

  1. Suncrisp
  2. Blushing Golden
  3. Winesap* while supplies last
  4. Cameo
  5. Red Delicious
  6. Golden Delicious
  7. Melrose
  8. Idared
  9. Galarina
  10. Florina

Please remember that PYO ends at 5 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday. 

We also have delicious baked goods in the market this weekend, courtesy of ToddleSquat Bakery. Get tasty apple galettes, madeleines, whoopie pies, frosted sugar cookies, duffins (half donut, half muffin - yum), brownies, and chocolate chip cookies.  Whew! (I think  that covers it). Check out their Facebook page for a sneak peak at what will be available.

Also, Saturday morning you can get up close and personal with our cider press. Our picking crew will be making a fresh, delicious batch of our blended apple cider, and we will open up the back to anyone who wishes to see how it's done. It is especially entertaining for kids who have just finished picking apples to see the whole process take place. Our guys should have the press up and running when we open at 9 a.m., and they will probably wrap things up around 1 p.m.

There are also tons  of pumpkins, all shapes, sizes and colors, for sale this weekend as well as large, beautiful mums and various gourds and squash for decorating and for eating. Come on by and make us your one-stop-shop for all things Fall.


Don't let the rain keep you away!

So what if there's a little rain outside? Don't let that stop you from coming out to Branstool Orchards and having some fun. We are completely decked out for fall this weekend; we have more pumpkins, gourds, and mums than you can imagine! We also have some kid-friendly activities set up - a cut out pumpkin for sticking your face in for pictures, and a giant measuring stick to see just how tall your little kiddos are. The kids who have been out this past week have loved them! 

Don't forget to come out and pick some apples. This weekend, in addition to Jonathan and Cortland, we have Pinova and, a true classic, Red Delicious. You can also get all of these varieties ready-picked in the market, mixed in with a few others. 

As of Saturday morning, we still have a few peaches left for the season! It is our last variety, Encore, which is a yellow freestone. It is a beautiful red around the pit, and has a thicker skin. We do anticipate selling out Saturday, so come early or call first. 

We also have the first freshly-pressed batch of our famous Blended Branstool Apple Cider of the year! Our picking crew whipped up a delicious batch yesterday made mostly of Honeycrisp. 

These are the varieties at Clintonville and Granville this morning: 

  • Red Delicious
  • Golden Delicious
  • Cameo
  • Cortland
  • Jonathan
  • Pinova
  • Rubinette
  • Grimes Golden




The end is near, just in time for a beginning.

We are picking the last of our peaches this week, and do not anticipating having any peaches left for the weekend.  It is also unlikely that we will have any peaches at the Westerville farmers market on Wednesday. We will be there with apples, though.  

Even though peaches are finishing up, our season is still going strong. We have an excellent apple crop, and still plenty of tasty varieties to come! Honeycrisp has finished up, be Rubinette is still being picked. We also have Grimes Golden and Cortland is large supply, and a few other fantastic varieties in the market. It looks like we are going to get some Pinova picked this week, another one of our more popular apples. 

Also coming up this week is our apple cider! If everything goes according to plan, we will have our first batch of freshly-pressed cider ready for this coming weekend. 

We are making regular trips to the auctions about three times a week to stock up on lots of fall items. Stop on out for mums, pumpkins, corn stalk bunches, squash, and gourds of all shapes and sizes!

One last BIG week

Our Encores have finally ripened up, and we have one last big week of peach season ahead of us.  

This week, we will be at the Granville Tuesday night farmers market, as well as the Westerville farmers market on Wednesday. At these markets, we will have peaches, as well as Honeycrisp and Rubinette apples.  The Honeycrisp are by far our most popular apple, and for good reason. It is super sweet with a hint of tart, and extra crispy - perfect for eating out of hand and, according to many customers, all baking purposes as well.  The Rubinette is another fantastic apple, and it quickly gaining popularity year after year. It's sweetness and tanginess blend perfectly for a truly unique flavor that is hard to match.


Saturday we will be at Granville (8:30-noon) and Clintonville (9-noon) farmers markets, and we will also be at the New Albany (9-noon) farmers market. The New Albany market is a new addition; for the first time ever New Albany is having a fall/winter indoor market, held at the Ministry Center of the Church of Resurrection on the second Saturday of every month. 

For Pick Your Own, we currently have Cortland and Gala apples. While we are not going to end up reopening peaches for PYO, we are on schedule to add the Rubinettes into the mix for this upcoming weekend. 

Check back for updates, or you can check our Twitter feed or sign up for our newsletter for alternative ways to get updates.




Peach season is winding down

Peaches: We are currently in between varieties, and do not have any peaches. We anticipate resuming picking on Wednesday. This means we will not be at the Granville farmers market on Tuesday. We should be at Westerville on Wednesday, but whether we take peaches or just apples will be decided Wednesday. We hope that once Encore arrives, we will get a week to ten days out of them.

Apples: Zestar, Ginger Gold, and Tsugaru are finished for the season. We are now onto Gala, Honeycrisp, and Swiss Gourmet. We have had Mollie's Delcious, and should have another round of them here soon. Cortland's are getting close; we should begin picking them within the next few days.

U-Pick: Right now we have Gala apples available for Pick Your Own. Encore peaches should be ready for U-Pick this coming weekend, barring any extreme weather conditions.

Pears: We are now selling pears in the market. Just a reminder: we do not have pears for Pick Your Own.

We would also like to take the time to thank all of our wonderful customers who have showed us so much support at the New Albany and Wednesday Clintonville farmers markets. We are so sad to see those markets come to an end for the season, but we had a great run. Again, a huge thank you to everyone who came out to support us and made those markets so fun for us to attend. 

If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call during business hours: Monday thru Saturday 9-6, Sunday 10-5.

Labor Day Weekend

Pick Your Own: The only thing available this weekend for U-Pick is Gala apples. There aren't going to be any peaches available for U-Pick for the next 5-7 days - we are waiting for the Encores to get ripe. 

Farmers Markets: Clintonville and Granville will each be getting tuckloads of Flamin' Fury peaches as well as apples. Granville runs from 8:30-noon, and Clintonville is 9-noon. 

Utica Store: In Utica, we will have more Flamin' Furies. Also available will be Gala, Zestar, Tsugaru, Mollie's Delicious, and Ginger Gold apples.  

Pear Update: Pears have officially been picked. It is still going to be a week to 10 days until they are for sale, though, as we have to keep them in cold storage for a little while to finish their ripening process. 

Honeycrisp Update:  We look to begin picking the Honeycrisp towards the end of this next week. There will be a few in the market this weekend, but come early - one the word gets out they won't be here long. 

Labor Day: We will be open on Labor Day, rain or shine, so come on out and see us! 

Welcome to the new and, we hope, improved Branstool Orchards website!

We hope everybody enjoys our new look, we are very excited about the changes. Over the next couple of months, we hope to build from this platform, and add more pages for you to explore and engage in. 

A couple of things we would like to draw your attention to:

  • We now have our Twitter account linked to our website (see left-hand column), and will post a daily Tweet for quick updates on our daily ripe varieties.
  • This blog is also receiving a bit of a makeover - we will not only post more detailed and more specific updates than our Twitter feed, but we are going to try to add in some fun posts as well, such as recipes, or articles about us from the web. 
  • There is now a specific page for Farmers Markets, so you can see where and when they each take place. 

Keep an eye out for new additions as we continue to create the best interactive Branstool Orchards possible!