No More Apples

No More Apples

Each Fall, we'd drive out to Eberly Orchards near North Liberty, Indiana to pick apples. The kids enjoyed it. There are countless "you pick" apple orchards around the Midwest, but none could compare to Eberly's.

Eberly Orchard

Visiting Eberly's was a walk into the past. From the hand pruned apple trees, to the old, rustic barn used as the store front, time seemed to freeze around 1949.


Upon walking into the barn, visitors were surrounded by hand written notes and signs - mostly jokes or riddles written by the owner. Hand made wooden shelves held a variety of fresh-picked apples, and a small assortment of empty bags for the u-pick adventurous type.

There was no such thing as a quick visit, as Mr. Eberly would talk at length to every customer as if he'd known them all his life. Kids would be questioned as to what they should do with the core of the apples they eat in the orchard. His response:

Boy: Apple core!
Friend: Baltimore!
Boy: Who's your friend?
Friend: Me!
Then throw the apple core at the person who said 'me'.

Before heading out into the orchard, Mr. Eberly would take an apple or two off the shelf and cut it into sections for you to try.

Only a few acres in size, the orchard was not fancy or manicured, simply left to nature. The trees had dozens of apples underneath, left to rot and fertilize the trees. The types of apples were written on white, plastic can lids, then hung from the branches of the first trees in each row. Eberly could tell you from the barn, exactly which row had Empire, or Red Delicious, "The fifth row is Empire, then the next two rows are Red Delicious, but they're not ready yet. Go over three more rows and you'll see the Gala."


After filling up our bags, we'd head back to the barn. Mr. Eberly would stop and see what we picked. All five of us would hold a half peck bag. The hand penned sign on the shelf read $2 a half peck. Of course he would ignore the sign and say," That'll be $5" -never full price. I think he remained in business just to visit with his customers.


On a wooden counter near the door was an antique cash register used to ring up sales. A few clicks of the number keys and a ratcheting sound followed by a bell, and the cash drawer would open up. He'd put in the money, then continue to talk. On the way out, he often offered the kids peacock feathers he collected from the peacocks that roamed his farm.

While I'm sure we can find lots of u-pick orchards around the county, I don't think we'll ever bother going apple picking again - it won't be the same.

As his hand written retirement sign stated.... "Thanks for the memories."

1 comment:

Unknown said...

So sorry to hear this Tom, Mr. Eberly's was my favorite orchard, too! Such a great guy and special place -