“I just couldn’t desert the seasons,” says the owner of Sunrise Orchards, a 75-year-old apple orchard located in Gays Mills, the “Apple Capital of Wisconsin.” “Pruning trees in the winter, managing the crop in the spring and summer, and spending long hours among the trees in the fall allow you to get very connected to the weather, and to the land.”
It’s that connection that he hopes to share with his visitors, who are drawn each year from Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota to explore this scenic apple growing valley nestled among the steeply chiseled bluffs of the “driftless” area of southwestern Wisconsin.
What the glaciers spared centuries ago is Allen’s modern day lab: 225 acres of prime apple-growing farmland, where three-quarters is wholesaled, and the rest is sold at retail. With more than 30 varieties grown on and sold in the orchard’s retail shop, Sunrise offers plenty of free apple samples so customers can try different varieties and possibly discover new favorites.
“Whether it’s helping visitors find the perfect apple for baking a pie or for snacking out of hand, our staff is always excited to chat about apples.”
We spotlight a new grower each month. Sign up for the Apple of the Month Club e-newsletter and learn about other growers!