More than 15 years ago, Derek and Debbie Gavette bought an old abandoned potato farm, complete with rat-infested barn, in Everson, WA, with the dream of resurrecting it as a working apple orchard and a place to raise their family. Farming, they thought, would provide the perfect opportunity to teach their kids responsibility through hard work and cooperation. They soon added Elizabeth, Abby and Lamont to their family...and later Juan and Zane (adopted from Guatemala). It was such a successfull endeavor that they decided it would be a wonderful ministry to families if they could open their farm to the public and provide a place for parents and children to come and spend a day. Thus began the annual Stoney Ridge Apple Farm extravaganza that occurs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the whole month of October.
They started small, selling a variety of homegrown apples and pumpkins from the huge pick-ur-own pumpkin field and a small cafe where one could relish Debbie's homemade apple pies complete with ice cream and hot caramel sauce. It was a smashing success, particularly after they were written up in Sunset Magazine. As a result the numbers of visitors grew exponentially, and so did Stoney Ridge. Each year Derek and Debbie have added more and more things for families to enjoy: the hot dog cafe and huge pit bonfire where families can sit and visit, the petting zoo, the corn maze, the wagon rides, the train rides and of course the apple pie...which is still homemade every week by Debbie and a faithful crew of helpers.
Our family began going every year shortly after they began this endeavor. In those days you could park right in the driveway! Nowadays, you have to park in the giant lot across the street, complete with parking attendants. Derek and Debbie got tired of seeing us loitering around the place for hours on end, so this year they put us to work at the entrance as the PR people! This past Saturday was our first day. The morning started out great, it was overcast, but mild. about 2:30 pm a storm BLEW in with gusts up to 40 mph, the temperature dropped and a pretty heavy rain began to fall. People were not deterred, however, and we were still admitting folks at 4:15 pm in the driving rain, with only 45 mins. until closing time! Such is the magical lure of Stoney Ridge.....irresistible!Yes, Leslie, that's Dillon and Tiffany, telling us about the "amended" proposal! :)
There are "picture postcard" snapshots everywhere you look, it takes them weeks of work to prepare for this, truly a labor of love!
And of course the "critters" for me!!
So...if this is an apple farm, where are all the apples? They are two weeks behind this year, cold spring, late arriving summer...but they are coming...stay tuned!