Just looking to get out of the house on this rain-prone Sunday (and, admittedly, trying to tether ourselves to as much of fall as you can in early-late-September), we drove to Rochester, WI (which I wrote about back in August) to get apples & cider at Ela Orchard.
Ela is owned by author Jane Hamilton's husband's family, going back three generations.
The area where they sell the apples is far back from the road down a long, sloppy mud road. On the way in, there's a towering house that's falling apart in all the right ways. The "stand" itself is an old barn with a covered area where wooden crates filled with various kinds of apples. Lots of varieties I'd never heard of.
We walked away with a total of 5lbs; two kinds of hard, bitterish apples: Liberty & Wealthy.
We also got four Parker Pears. An even number, the woman working the stand said, so we didn't have to fight over who got more.
They have goats there who come when you clap, like dogs. Except today, I guess, because they refused to come out into the rain from under shelter.
You can sample apples straight from the crates before committing to a few pounds. The cores you toss into the fenced areas where the goats live. They eat your leftovers as snacks.