The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Fall features: best apple-picking venues

As of tomorrow, summer is officially over for residents of the Northern Hemisphere.

However, summer for college students ended weeks ago — the day classes began. It may still be sunny, but thanks to meetings, exams and endless group projects, there is far less time to enjoy the weather.

Fall in Wisconsin goes hand in hand with apples, hay rides and cool nights carving pumpkins. Translation: pull on your hoodie, pile your friends into a car and head out to a local apple orchard for some fall fun.

According to the Wisconsin Apple Growers Association (WAGA) website, Wisconsin apples are the best in the world due to climatic conditions, unique varieties and quality and commitment by the growers. Eau Claire is home to a few orchards and farms that provide its residents with those very best apples.

Story continues below advertisement



Ferguson’s Orchards is just 5 miles from campus at 6470 Balsam Road, offering not only pick-your-own apples, but also wagon rides, a corn maze and honey. Ferguson’s is open Thursday – Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Oct. 30.

Ferguson’s website lists 19 varieties of apples for customers to pick from, along with a chart featuring peak harvest times, uses for each apple and their flavor characteristics.

There is no cost to pick apples, rest in the picnic area or browse in the gift shop, but for $3, visitors are welcome to enter Farmer Tom’s Barnyard, according to their website.

Farmer Tom’s Barnyard features a corn maze, tractor-drawn wagon ride and a hay bale pyramid with a secret tunnel. Closer to Halloween, Ferguson’s also sets up a “Slightly Scary Haunted House.”



Hillview Farm is open through the end of November from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday – Sunday. Located just over 9 miles from campus, Hillview features 7 acres of pick-your-own or fresh-picked apples for the taking. Visitors can also take a horse-drawn wagon ride on Saturdays or walk the half-mile scenic nature trail.
Romantic, right?

Jerry Harper opened Hillview Farm with his wife, Betty, in 1988. He said customers prefer Hillview over other local orchards due to the relaxing atmosphere and smaller
area to pick.

Harper said students also enjoy the apple slingshot and walking to the trail’s end — the top of a hill — and being able to see a distant view of
Upper Campus.

Prices at Hillview vary depending on which kind of apple customers favor, but Harper said prices average around $1 per pound, with discounts as weight increases.



Off the beaten path of Eau Claire area orchards, you can find Connell’s Orchard at 19372 Highway OO in
Chippewa Falls.

Connell’s is home to 35 acres of apple trees and is open through November, seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Angela Birrittella, shop manager at Connell’s, said the orchard features 30 different varieties of apples, with the customer favorite being

Although Connell’s doesn’t offer pick-your-own apples due to high insurance costs, Birrittella said the bee hive is a big attraction that customers young and old really like.

“People go to a lot of the other orchards, but they tend to linger here,” Birrittella said. “We have a staff that know a lot about apples. They’ve grown up on orchards their whole life and can really help customers with questions.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Fall features: best apple-picking venues