Apples don't fall too far from their trees, the old saying goes, and that's certainly true at Oregon Heritage Farms, the Scholls orchard that has been growing honeycrisp, Jonagold, Gala and Granny Smith apples for four generations.
Owned by Robert and Kim McLennan, the farm is bringing the community together with AppleFest on Saturday, Oct. 13, a day where family and friends can visit and learn more about the 400 acres out on Hillsboro's countryside.
"When the apples are ripe, we are ready," Kim McLennan said.
Open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the day will sport opportunities to explore the grounds and enjoy a hayride by the farm's longtime employees as a tour throughout the orchards.
Robert McLennan started the farm as a project with his father Phil in the late 1970s. His family continues to operate the farm, located at 22801 S.W. Scholls Ferry Road.
Robert and Kim McLennan and their children, Chelsea McLennan-West and Kyle McLennan, all pitch in to run all sides of the commercial business.
"It started with a small piece of land and we continued to plant trees," Kim McLennan said. "We had to make a decision if we needed to stop farming or begin packing our own apples."
While Oregon Heritage Farms is not a U-pick destination, apple lovers can collect plenty of fresh fruit on the property.
The McLennans all have a role, with Phil overseeing the entire farm, and Kim managing the farm's retail store.
Working together is amazing, Kim McLennan said.
"I get to see my kids every single day," she said "We have family business meetings but we also make sure to have family time that are not talking about the farm."
During harvest, Oregon Heritage Farms employs about 140 people, Kim McLennan said.
"We have a great crew," Kim McLennan said. "When people come to AppleFest, hopefully they find a friendly face."
A bright, red barn sits cozily on the property, with goats ready to meet and greet. Pumpkins sprawl around the new activity feature, the Spider Web on the farm's hillside. Nearby sits the coveted apple slingshot, where apples can be shot at targets. Proceeds from slingshot cost go toward benefitting the Hillsboro High School baseball team, Kim McLennan said.
An apple-shaped bounce-house larger than life is also nearby, and is a family-favorite after the McLennan's installed it in the 1990s.
The farm store is the final stop, where apples picked daily by the Oregon Heritage Farm crew are ready to buy by the pound.
Walking inside, fall is in full swing. The sample counter is prepped to taste the variety of apples, while another counter is bustling with activity for another reason.
Behind the slushy and doughnut counter is Olga Arguelles, who says she has to limit herself to eating one doughnut a day after being surrounded by the pastries all day.
The smell is mouthwatering, and when the store opens at 10 a.m., people are already waiting to buy them.
The machine shoots out two at a time, all freshly being prepared to package in a paper bag to hand to customers.
The slushies, made from freshly-pressed apple cider, were introduced to the farm in 2015, and have since become a staple for visitors.
With all the anticipation, Kim McLennan said they began hosting Happy Hour from 3 to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, where a slushy and half-a-dozen doughnuts can be purchased for $5.
"It is a major hit," Arguelles said.
Not only can families do the everyday activities like tasting, but they can look forward to live music by a Johnny Cash tribute band, Get Rhythm.
Face painter Roger Witter will also be there, as well as performances by JuggleMania, a Portland-based performing artist named Rhys Thomas.
The orchard produces fruit sold both internationally and locally, Kim McLennan said. Its apples can be found at Safeway, Winco, Albertsons and other local grocery stores.
The Hillsboro community have been supportive for decades, Kim McLennan said.
"We are so blessed," she said.
Oregon Heritage Farms is open through Sunday, Nov. 11.
By Janae Easlon
Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune971-762-1166
Follow Janae at @Janae_Easlon
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