Nearly 100 years ago, apple orchards sprouted up all over Tuolumne County on Yosemite’s western edge, and people paid $2 more per box for Tuolumne apples than others. While most of them have disappeared, you can visit two different Sonora apple orchards that offer incredible local experiences.
About a 15-minute drive from downtown Sonora, Indigeny Reserve was founded by Jay and Judy Watson who opened its doors to the public in 2012. From their organic apple orchards that run up and down 160 acres, the Watsons and their sons produce hard ciders, brandy and vodkas. Head to their beautiful tasting bar to sample the apple products, peruse the gift shop or enjoy a picnic and hiking trails on the property. (indigenyreserve.com)
Cover’s Apple Ranch
Equally close to Sonora is Cover’s Apple Ranch where apple trees have grown since Walter Ralph planted them in 1929. Catering to families, the ranch has barnyard animals and a miniature train kids can ride. Sip fresh-pressed cider and eat at the ranch’s deli where baked goods are hard to resist. Your friends will grow tired of you raving about the ranch’s seasonal pies when you return home. But don’t let that stop you from buying one. (www.coversappleranch.com)
Learn more about Tuolumne County at VisitTuolumne.com.