Apple Picking at Door Creek Orchard

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.

Ski Hi Fruit Farm in Baraboo

Autumn means apples in Wisconsin, and for me that means stopping in at Ski Hi Fruit Farm after rock climbing at Devil's Lake. Two minutes west of the Park, on a high hill overlooking the Baraboo valley and range, Ski Hi is a pretty nice place for an apple farm. The property has been an apple orchard since 1907, when Arthur Kamp Bassett mowed down the forest and planted apple trees in the stump holes. Though you can't pick your own fruit at Ski High, the store/warehouse has a classic, rural Wisconsin feel to it. Choose your apples beneath the watchful gaze of mounted deer, pay the cashier who lives down the road. No frills, no tourist trap crap, lots of love.