September 22, 2005
The fall is here, and what better way to welcome in the new season, than visiting an apple orchard.
In the classroom, and on a field trip education can be fun. Kindergarteners at Jackson-Via Elementary School welcomed the fall season by visiting Graves' Mountain Farm in Syria, Virginia.
"I got to pick apples," said Noelle Stoner, a kindergartener at Jackson-Via Elementary Schools.
Noelle and others students did pick apples, but also saw something else.
"I saw a couple horses," said Noelle.
The farm in Madison County is a treat for about 7,000 students a year. Inviting kids to learn about apples, and others fun and interesting things have been a tradition for more than 135 years.
"They always remember coming to pick apples, and they usually love the hay ride and also walking into the cold storage because of the big temperature contrast. They find out where we actually take the apples after we pick them," said Lynn Graves, of Graves' Mountain Farm.
Staff members of Graves' Mountain Farm aren't the only skilled pickers in the orchards. Others may include every day visitors including a Jackson-Via kindergartener named Jake Farruggio. Jake had to use a great strategy when getting his apples.
"I twisted [the apple], and I pulled it off, and put it into the bag," explained Jake.
The job isn't done just because an apple or two are picked. Once the visitors leave Graves' Mountain Orchard with their apples, they then head over to the packing shed.
The packing shed is often seen as a break from the sun and bumpy rides in a hay wagon because visitors usually walk through a refrigerated area where apples are kept cool. In the cool area, these pickers are able to see just how apples are cleaned, sorted, and packed to sell. Often, after a hard day's work, the day pickers are lucky enough to take a few home.
"I'm going to save some so we can eat some," said Jake.
Aside from holding tours, Graves' Mountain Farm also holds an apple festival showcasing their twenty different types of apples at the farm. It will be held the second and third weekends of October at the farm in Syria, Virginia.