The orchard is closed for the season. Thanks to all the customers who picked apples this year…hope we see you next season!
Since 1839, someone has farmed this land on the corner of Charles Rd. and Raffel Rd. Homestead Orchard is a quiet place in the country to pick 23 varieties of apples, pie cherries and pears. Come and sit under one of the oldest and largest maple trees in McHenry county. Relax, see and hear nature all around you. Come inside the 1880s horse barn, which is our store, and find hand crafted items, glassware, and maybe some antique furniture for sale. We also sell honey from our own bee hives along with beeswax candles made one at a time. There is a separate room to honor WWII veterans with memorabilia like photos, books, maps, model WWII airplanes, magazines, and 3 dioramas of Omaha Beach, with actual sand from Normandy, Battle of the Bulge and Iwo Jima. Also for sale we have over 200 WWII books, airplane models and many WWII Hollywood movies.
The fragrance of dried perennial flowers permeate the store, many of which are hanging from the beams. Crunch some ‘sweet anise’ between your fingers and take in the aroma. These are for sale too. We dry our own birdhouse gourds then make them into birdhouses or carve them with a hole in the back, to illuminate for the holidays.
Keeping bees is a natural for pollinating the apple blossoms and starting in August we start selling our ‘clover honey’ and later in the summer we sell the wildflower honey. We use the ‘cappings’ that the bees use to seal each honey cell to make beautiful beeswax candles which are all made one at a time, by hand. These candles are for sale in the store in the natural color of light yellow or dyed other colors. Beeswax candles burn very clean and very slow and do not drip unless they are in a draft.
We are in the process of grafting different ‘heirloom’ apples that most of you will not be familiar with. Some will date back to colonial times. A graft should produce apples in 2 seasons but could produce the same year grafted. ‘Spitzenburg’ dates back to 1790 and is said to be the favorite apple of Thomas Jefferson. It is a yellow apple with red stripes and dots. It is a very good eating apple. ‘Baldwin’ dates back to Massachutetts, 1740. It is blush red on green and streaked with red. It is an all purpose apple and wonderful for pie. ‘Wolf River’ is a Wisconsin apple from the 1860’s. It is dark red over yellow, and bears HUGE fruits. It is famous for…..”One apple will make a whole pie” ‘Snow Apple’ comes from Quebec and dates back to the 1600’s. It is red over white with pink tones. Good for eating, pies, cider, and juice. “Cox’s Orange Pippen’ is from England-circa 1830. Yellow and red streaked with red. It is a very good dessert apple . ‘Gravenstein’ was planted as early as 1850 in northern Calif. It is red striped, crisp, juicy, and sweetly tart. The red stripes are on green skin. An all-purpose apple.
We are sorry, but for insurance reasons, no dogs are allowed in the Orchard.
Contact Don or Barb at: 815-338-7443 or E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org