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Two weeks ago, my young family and I discovered yet another reason why living and working in Grand Junction is both a joy and a blessing.
I do have to give credit to my auntie. For whatever reason it is, the women on my mother’s side have an incredible knack for meeting people and for finding all of the fun nooks and crannies of a community that some of the natives don’t even know about.
Well, this time I had my hands full of those kinds of surprises as my mom was visiting out from California, and my auntie, her sister who lives here, wanted us to go have fun for the weekend with a family she had recently met. Now, like I said, my auntie usually runs into interesting people, but what she didn’t tell us was that this family didn’t just have a normal house in the suburbs.
When we arrived at this family’s home, we at first didn’t notice a house at all, but instead noticed a tiny storefront with what looked like a great expanse of trees behind it. As we piled out of the car we were greeted at the door by a friendly man named Rob, who welcomed us into the store. When we all made our way in he handed us baskets and invited us to go out back.
Behind the storefront was an entire orchard of trees, all with various types of fruit hanging from them. And with that, my cousins and the rest of my family who had come along were off to fill their baskets with all types of apples: Granny Smiths, Red Delicious, Cameos, even Golden Delicious and much more. It was a breath of fresh air to be out among the rows of trees, picking straight from the branches and filling our baskets with an entire rainbow of apples. We lamented that the apricots, cherries, plums, and peaches that we walked by were out of season, but in reality we probably wouldn’t have had enough room, even with 3 or 4 baskets.
We did however discover raspberry bushes and tomato plants whose branches were still bursting with ripened fruit. I, of course not wanting to waste a good photo opportunity, took a beautiful panoramic to put up in our house, but mostly to text to all my city friends and gloat. Well, no sooner did I press send than I dropped my iPhone in one of the streams used to irrigate. As my younger cousins laughed I quickly plucked it out of the water and was able to salvage the phone with the trusty bowl full of rice trick, but unfortunately the rest of the day went undocumented.
As our baskets were beginning to be too cumbersome to carry without spilling fruit out over the top, we went back to the store with Rob where we were met by his wife Kristin and their children. They helped us weigh our baskets and get pricing for the fruit we had picked. I was cringing as I watch the scales labor under the weight of our full baskets, but when the price finally came out, I was very surprised at how inexpensive it was. I couldn’t have purchased a third of the fruit in a store for what I paid that day.
As I weighed the fruit my wife and cousins roamed around the store looking at the various gourds, jams, salsas, dried fruits, and candies for sale. All looked delicious.
As it turns out, Rob and Kristin Fenwick are the new owners of Fruit Basket Orchards, a place they hope to grow into a place where people can come to enjoy nature and pick fruits and vegetables right from the source to take home and joy with their families. Their young family lives right on the 7-acre property and already their kids feel right at home among the trees.
As winter approaches I’d imagine that the days of fruit-picking will become scarcer and scarcer until spring so I’d suggest driving out there soon and taking a look before it’s too late. They are located just out of town at 253 32 ½ Road in Grand Junction. Give them a call at 970-434-5309 and set up an appointment or get on their email list to find great deals on products.
It’s been two weeks and my family is just now running out of apples and tomatoes. We can’t wait to get back out there for some more. We had no idea such a quaint attraction lay right in our backyard, but that’s life in the beautiful Grand Valley now isn’t it?