ARCADIA — A trip to the Apple Shed is a must-do each autumn for fans of the fruit.
For others, it’s a weekly excursion.
The Apple Shed, on an idyllic spot among the drumlins off of Fairville Maple Ridge, is certainly off the beaten track.
Thankfully, the business, part of the Wells family for over 100 years, finds itself in the running for Best Apple Orchard in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice 2019 contest. People have just three more days to vote.
Barb Wells, who owns the Apple Shed with her husband, Gary Wells, said she has “no idea” how their business got nominated, but she’s thrilled they did.
She said that win or lose — they were in fifth at last count — the publicity is good, not only for the Apple Shed, but for the county’s fruit-growing operations.
No one grows more apples in New York than Wayne County.
Wells said the Maple Ridge Fruit Farm, the official name of Apple Shed operations, is not even close to being the biggest of Wayne County’s many operations, but they have tied much of their fruit-farming success to the Apple Shed, a place where you can get not only reasonably priced quality apples, but also grab a doughnut, an apple slushie or some of their famous cider.
The Apple Shed also has activities for the kids, including a farmyard with friendly goats, a corn slide, playground and wagon rides.
You can also catch lunch at the Apple Shed, with a deck-side view of the expansive apple orchards on the rolling hills to the north.
It also doesn’t hurt to have 28 varieties of apples over the course of the season, with early apples coming any day, Wells said.
“What we grow (in varieties) is definitely determined by what we can sell in the farm market,” she said, noting that they also test-grow new varieties being developed at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva.
The Apple Shed has also added the Old Goat Cidery as part of its efforts to create a destination-style business.
“We decided to try it out, and it just made sense,” Wells said, noting that Old Goat is on the Lake Ontario Wine Trail, which includes not only wineries, but cideries as well.
As for the vote, Wells noted that Apple Shed fans can vote each day and on all of their devices. She’s voting on her computer, phone and tablet.
Wells said she’s proud of what they’ve been able to build in their out-of-the-way spot in the hills of Arcadia.
“I think we try to educate the public about fruit farming and apples and everything you can do with apples,” she said. “We just want people to appreciate and enjoy farm life.”