After moving back to Madison in 2010, we spent a few years exploring different apple orchards before landing on a place we loved last year: Door Creek Orchard. I think this orchard is pretty popular, but we go during the week around 4:30 and it's pretty quiet. Tom, one of the owners, is always really sweet with the boys, telling us about his unique Black Welsh Mountain sheep, letting Basti ride his tractor, and even providing dinner recommendations. And the setting here is pretty idyllic, with a gorgeous farmhouse and barn overlooking the expansive wetlands below.
If all these things vanished, however, I would still come here for the fantastic apples alone. Door Creek grows an Empire apple that is currently my very favorite eating apple. We bought $35 worth, thinking they would last us into December, but they are already almost gone. A testament to their flavor, or our gluttony... you decide.