Surprised? You are probably as surprised as I was to learn that the Hill Country west of San Antonio has some of the best apple growing weather in the U.S. Apples grow best with chill hours between 32 degrees and 40 degrees during the winter and there's just such a microclimate in Medina, Texas about an hour west of San Antonio. A few weeks ago I joined my neighborhood garden club for a tour of the Love Creek Orchards.
The apples typically ripen in July, these remain on the tree for tours like ours.
The apples are grown on dwarf stock making them much easier to pick. The trunks are painted to prevent sunburn.
In addition to apples, Love Creek Orchards features pick-your-own raspberries in season. All Love Creek fruit is organically grown. Birds and bats are welcomed into the garden as natural pest control.
Love Creek is also the largest grower of Big Tooth Maples of "Lost Maples" fame. Lost Maples State Natural Area is about thirty minutes from Medina. When we get cool nights the maples give us a fall color treat. The maples at the park should reach peak color in the next few weeks and you can follow the maples at the Fall Foliage Report.
The grounds are a pretty place to spend the day.
Medina has had less rain than San Antonio so the creek is a little low but hopefully recent rains have helped.
The orchard features a pumpkin patch on fall weekends. I was there on a weekday tour with my local garden club so this area was quiet. I was here on an October weekend last year when it was packed with families.
The straw maze and an opportunity to "pumpkinize" your family photos.
Another view of the kid-size straw maze.
A selection of the pumpkins available.
They also press fresh Apple Cider sold on site during October. After the tour we headed over to the Apple Store a few blocks away in town. It's a beautiful old stone house.
Apple trees are available with very specific location details.
Applewood for your grill.
A gift shop features apple products from the orchard.
We had lunch at the attached restaurant.
I had a delicious chicken salad with apples. We all got a chuckle from this sign at the order window.
It was a beautiful day for a trip to the Hill Country.
After lunch we headed over to Medina Garden Nursery to enjoy a tour of the gardens.