Always Eat Local: Ontario Orchards

Honeycrisp Heaven at Ontario Orchards

I am not a foodie traveler, but I do make an effort to eat local when I’m on the road. In fact, Rule of the Roadtrip #5 is Always Eat Local. Upstate New York, along the coast of Lake Superior, is apple country.

Red & Green

After spending the night close enough to the Lake that I could hear and smell the freshwater waves all night, the next morning I stopped for breakfast at Ontario Orchards, a splendid farm stand along highway 104, just southwest of Oswego, NY.

Ontario Orchards doesn’t just grow apples, they grow nearly 30 varieties of apples! Along with a wide array of produce including pears, grapes, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, zucchini, several kinds of squash, radishes, asparagus, broccoli, potatoes, beets, garlic, onions, cabbage, cauliflower and sprouts. You name it, they grow it!

I have no idea about those big green footballs! I assume they’re edible…

Decorative gourds: 3 for a dollar

This wide variety of fresh foods, along with baked goods, bulk foods, bagged candies, cider, vinegar and a compliment of General Store stuff make for a mouthwateringly beautiful store! If more stores looked like this place, we’d all eat much healthier.

Nuts & Fruits

I took lots of photos and bought a bushel of Honeycrisp apples (my favorite!), a liter of Honeycrisp cider, and a fresh-baked apple muffin for the road. The rest of the day, driving back roads through orchard country, I slugged cider straight out of the jug with the sweet scent of cider-making wafting through my open windows (Rule of the Roadtrip #8: Roll down your car windows!). Ahhh, Honeycrisp Heaven on Earth!

Honeycrisp Apples. Once you go Honeycrisp, you never go back.

If you like Honeycrisp try Jonagolds! I did. Tart but sweet!

Sweet Potato Squash, which I know as Delicata Squash. When I worked on the organic farm in Oregon, I once spent a whole week smashing Delicata with a sledge hammer to harvest the seeds. Just looking at them makes me ache…

All this squash makes me hungry for soup!

Not hungry for nuts though — I’m allergic!

So many apples!

Apples are a fascinating fruit. Check out Michael Pollan’s book the Botany of Desire, which recounts the agricultural history of selective breeding for sweeter and sweeter varieties of apples, culminating (some would say) with the Honeycrisp. Read more about my organic farming days in my post: A Place That I Used To Know.

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at
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14 Responses to Always Eat Local: Ontario Orchards

  1. amberlife says:

    Great pictures as always! Might nip out and buy an apple on the strength of it…..

  2. mjspringett says:

    I hope you know that lake superior is bordered by wisconsin, minnesota and michigan, up here we also love honeycrisp, thanks for your great posts, i am traveling vicariously, MJ

  3. ritaroberts says:

    What wonderful photo’s Mary those apples sure do look nice and crisp.Actually ! everything looks superbly fresh.

  4. Those big green footballs are Hubbard squashes. They taste a lot like butternut. If you’ve ever read the Little House books, Ma once had to use an axe to hack into the rind of a Hubbard squash because when they get too big, they’re super tough.

    In other news, there’s one sitting on my kitchen counter, waiting to be cooked with butter.

    Lovely photos! Pictures of vegetables are my favorites.

  5. egghill says:

    Mary, along with being a great photographer, you’re a prolific blogger. I’ve been trying to blog myself, and find it challenging with Internet connections being sketchy in the high Sierras. I look forward to your frequent posts.

  6. Gunta says:

    I was going to suggest Pollan’s book, but see you’ve already been there. 🙂

  7. Tiffani says:

    I used to buy Fuji because of the juicy sweetness but have just this year discovered Honeycrisp and I believe you are correct, I don’t think I can go back. :-). Great pics, got my mouth watering

  8. hellboy2503 says:

    Great shots and blog

  9. j2rr says:

    Cucurbita maxima or more politely, Hubbard squash, very commonly grown all round the world.This family has the largest pumpkin ever grown. And the squashes includes many well known names and a few less well known ones. We would say a ‘rugbyball’, as a ‘football’ is round, and the other is oblong, – then, we speak inglish. (funny … )

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