Updated April 6, 2016
The apple buds are about to pop! Yes, so far the crop looks beautiful, our few peach trees are blooming today (April 6) and the apples will follow soon, maybe in about a week. If you are interested in seeing the bloom at its peak or want to take pictures, we suggest you come by sometime between April 12 and April 20. Assuming of course that winter stays away and the blossoms don't freeze, So keep your fingers crossed. We will open the apple store and start picking apples on August 26, 2016.
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We usually allow pets, but they must be on a leash due to the number of other visitors, children, loose chickens and pet cats around the farm.
We have been really busy planting more trees. With years of drought and a hard early November freeze now behind us (we hope!) we continue to plant new trees to replace our losses. Some of the recent additions are Champagne, Honeycrisp, Autumn Crisp, Golden Russet and more Jonathans. When we bought the orchard in 1997 we had nearly 200 trees (out of 410 total trees) that were 60 years old. Now we have 240 trees (out of a total of 526 trees) that are less than 3 years old and only a dozen or so of the old standard trees. It looks a little different but is still beautiful.
Remember, this is an outdoor activity conducted on a working farm. Please dress appropriately and wear suitable shoes. The ground is uneven, there are irrigation ditches, fallen apples are underfoot, weeds obscure the ground, you may encounter insects, and the weather can change rapidly. If you come prepared you will be safe and have more fun. We do not allow ladders, and tree climbing is not permitted.
Third Street Apples is a five acre working apple orchard located in the small community of Penrose, Colorado. We are one of only a few "pick-your-own" apple orchards east of the continental divide, with over 40 varieties of apples, a pick-your-own pumpkin patch with our own home-grown pumpkins, beehives, a small store, and a variety of dogs, cats, and chickens. We offer a real slice of country life with no admission charge and no frills. Our form of "entertainment" is a quiet afternoon with the family picking apples, and absorbing the sights, sounds (and occasional smells) of an agricultural community. We think its wonderful when people take the time to learn a little about our disappearing farming heritage. Bring a picnic lunch (we do have picnic tables and a portable restroom) , and be sure to bring a camera.
Penrose was established in 1909 on land owned by Spencer Penrose who made a fortune selling goods to miners at Cripple Creek and Victor. He developed the Beaver Park Land and Irrigation Company as a means of providing food, including beef, vegetables and fresh fruit for the mining communities and for his resort hotel at the Broadmoor. In its heyday there were nearly 3,000 acres of fruit trees in the area, and the orchards were profitable in part because apples ripen about two weeks earlier here than in the upper midwest. Two fruit packing houses once shipped apples from Penrose to Chicago by the trainload- today there are less than 100 acres of managed orchards in all Fremont County. Changing climate, competition from other areas like eastern Washington State, and changes in the availability of irrigation water have made orcharding more difficult than it once was. Fortunately there are still a few orchards for you to visit.
Third Street Apples was once part of a larger orchard known as Singing Hills. The original orchard was planted in about 1910, replanted by John Molello in about 1949 (the big old trees you see in our orchard are part of this planting). In about 1982 the big standard trees were "interplanted" with semi-dwarf trees. Since Lance and Gail Tyler purchased the orchard in 1997, additional plantings were made in 1999, 2003 and 2006. There are now about 500 trees in the orchard, with 30 different varieties including many old-time "heritage" varieties as well as the familiar grocery store types. Since different apples ripen at different times from August into November, you will have to plan more than one trip to sample them all!