Tree Top Apple Orchards in Washington*

taken with a Nikon D80 - 17-50mm lens

Last month Seattle was infiltrated with food bloggers and the brilliant minds behind Tree Top planned a trip to the center of Washington state to visit their bountiful apple orchards.

taken with an iPhone & edited in the filterstorm app

The drive from Seattle into the Lake Chelan area of Washington was absolutely breath taking. This Southern girl is not used to seeing beautiful mountains, deep valleys, and crisp white snow in June!

taken with a Nikon D80 - 35mm lens

Our first stop was to an adorable Bavarian town called Leavenworth. The town reminded me a lot of Helen, Georgia…but was a lot bigger and a lot nicer. If you ever get a chance, this place must be on your Washington must-see list! I loved it!

taken with an iPhone & edited in the instagram app

For lunch we gorged ourselves at Cafe Mozart. One of the appetizers we tried was a Fried International Cheese Sampler. It had a lightly fried brie, mozzarella and smoked gouda, and was served with an amazing lingonberry-cranberry sauce. It’s no big surprise with my love of cheese, but this was probably my favorite thing we ate there!

Above you can see Amanda digging in to her super cheesy Caprese sandwich. And while not pictured, I had the Kaesespaetzle — which is a lot like mac and cheese, but with a German twist.

taken with an iPhone & edited in the instagram app

After lunch we had a little time to explore Leavenworth. When you let a bunch of food bloggers loose in a town like this, what do you think happens? We find the chocolate store of course! Above you can see Sandy, Jenny, Shaina and Amanda taste testing all of the handmade chocolates at Schocolat.

taken with a Nikon D80 - 17-50mm lens

After leaving Leavenworth, we arrived at the picturesque Lake Chelan. I couldn’t believe how blue the water was…and I mean, come on, it’s surrounded by mountains! How awesome is that?? I hope to one day get a chance to take my family to the Lake Chelan area.

taken with an iPhone & pieced together in picframe app

Tree Top put us up at Campbell’s Resort on Lake Chelan. It’s a family owned resort and is situated on the north side of the 50 mile lake. The views above were from inside my room!

taken with a Nikon D80 - 17-50mm lens

Before heading off to see Tree Top’s Apple Orchards, I got the chance to go lounge by the lake and soak up some sunshine. This Florida girl is so used to sweating while trying to lay out, but Washington’s 80°F was such a welcome surprise.

taken with a Nikon D80 - 17-50mm lens

When we arrived to the apple orchards, I was shocked at the views these apple trees had. I mean seriously? I see my neighbor’s house and asphalt…these apple trees get this view. Where’s the justice in that?? …I’m seriously considering setting up a tent in the center of the orchard. I’m sure the FDA would be cool with that. ;-)

taken with a Nikon D80 - 17-50mm lens

One of the coolest things I learned while on this trip, was the hand thinning process that the apple trees go through. In April, when all the trees bloom, each of the blooms have to be thinned by hand. Each blossom will have groups of blooms with one large bloom in the center — the king bloom. The smaller blooms must be picked off so only the King Bloom grows. Otherwise, the smaller blooms will produce smaller apples that will crowd the bigger apple.

taken with a Nikon D80 - 17-50mm lens

The apples had already started to grow when we were there in early June, but they won’t actually be ready to pick until September.

Tree Top has a whopping 1100 growers and 8,000 acres of apple orchards. Each year they also process 9,000 tons of cherries, 45,000 bins of pears and 325,000 bins of apples….and one bin of apples weighs about 900 pounds. How insane is that? But when you think about how many apples it takes to make one bottle of Tree Top apple juice (20 apples!), it doesn’t seem like that crazy!

taken with a Nikon D80 - 17-50mm lens

In 1952, 5K carloads of apples went into the Colombian River each year because they were not pretty enough to be sold in stores. This caused a lot of issues for the environment, but was also an obvious huge waste of produce.

In 1960 a group of apple growers got together and purchased Tree Top from Bill Charbonneau — the man who created the first clear apple juice. They started making everything from apple juice, to apple sauce…and now even fresh pre-cut apple slices. Tree Top is now run by Tom Stokes (pictured above, in the blue shirt) and he shared the story of Tree Top with all of us.

taken with a Nikon D80 - 17-50mm lens

After our tour of the apple orchard, we headed over to Benson Vineyard for a delicious farm to table dinner.

Above is the one and only group shot of the bloggers who attended: Kim Sunee – Epicurean Mom (Katie) – Mommie Cooks (Julie) – The Kitchen Magpie (Karlynn) – Mom Start (Louise) –  Picky Palate (Jenny) – The Healthy Apple (Amie) – Kevin and Amanda (Amanda) – Food for my Family (Shaina) – Reluctant Entertainer (Sandy)

taken with the app Pro HDR on an iPhone

The Benson Vineyard was absolutely stunning. This photo was captured while standing on their gorgeous back patio. Their vineyard is open for weddings or special events…and if Jorge and I ever renew our vows, I know where we are going. ;-)

taken with an iPhone

taken with a Nikon D80 - 35mm lens

We were served a delectable 4 course dinner by Chef Pam Ahl. We had amazingly fresh salmon, tender organic veggies, and a delectable chocolate cake!

taken with the app Pro HDR on an iPhone

We were lucky enough to be able to watch the sunset over the vineyard through dinner. It was absolutely breath taking.

I want to say a giant thank you to Tree Top — with a special thanks to Sharon, Jessica, and Jordan! — for such an amazing trip. I would never have gotten the chance to see the beauty of Washington State without the amazing trip y’all planned!

 

**this trip was paid for by Tree Top, however all opinions are 100% my own.**

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26 Responses to “Tree Top Apple Orchards in Washington”

  1. 1

    Lindsay {Life and Kitchen} — June 26, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous! (I meant the samdwich, but the scenery was nice, too!)

  2. 2

    Averie @ Averie Cooks — June 26, 2012 @ 9:21 pm

    I don’t even know where to begin. To say this is BEAUTIFUL is an understatement. Wow. No words. Stunningly gorgeous photos and what I love love love about it, is that iphone pics are every bit as good (and in a couple cases “cooler”) than DSLR with a prime lens pics. Amazing.

    So happy that you had this experience! Now I want to go there and see this beautiful place!

  3. 3

    Heather (Heather's Dish) — June 26, 2012 @ 9:29 pm

    HOLY STUNNING!

  4. 4

    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — June 27, 2012 @ 1:07 am

    Dude, the iPhone pictures are gorgeous!

  5. 5

    Lacey | Small Town Cookie — June 27, 2012 @ 1:26 am

    Beautiful photos. I especially like the ones of the vineyards. Stunning.
    I have heard of Leavenworth, but have never been there. It’s going on my list of places to go.

  6. 6

    shelly (cookies and cups) — June 27, 2012 @ 8:50 am

    I am so incredibly jealous of this trip..it looks like you had a fantastic time!

  7. 7

    Bibi @ Bibi's Culinary Journey — June 27, 2012 @ 9:42 am

    Absolutely stunning pictures…..I love Leavenworth & Lake Chelan. We try to visit Leavenworth every summer & winter.So much good food and great family vacation spot.

  8. 8

    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — June 27, 2012 @ 10:02 am

    Your photos are absolutely stunning! I need to look into that lens now… having lens envy ;) And holy cow 8000 acres of glorious apples. I’d be in heaven!

  9. 9

    Ali — June 27, 2012 @ 10:19 am

    Your trip looks so amazing and your pictures are beautiful!! Thank you so much for sharing, I’ve been wanting to plan a trip to Washington and this is even more motivation to do so!

  10. 10

    Lauren | Sweet Splendor — June 27, 2012 @ 11:04 am

    Your photos are stunning! Washington sounds like such an amazing state to visit. I’m glad I can live vicariously through your pictures for now!

  11. 11

    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts — June 27, 2012 @ 11:45 am

    The pictures are beautiful! What an amazing trip and experience!

  12. 12

    Eva Taylor — June 27, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

    What a great little get away, Jessica. And so lovely to have met all those food bloggers! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  13. 13

    Leila — June 27, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

    awesome photos!! I love how iPhone photos can now rival DSLR photos. crazy!! haha :)

  14. 14

    Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet — June 27, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

    Gorgeous photos!!! I love Lake Chelan so so much. We vacationed there last summer and rented a house for a week on the lake. I didn’t want to go home. :) Looks like you had a grand time!! Love it.

    xo
    Heather

  15. 15

    Sharon Miracle — June 27, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

    Great photos and story. I am still craving that Schocolate. We hope to see you in WA and I for one would be glad to put you up for many days, weeks or months in exchange for getting to dine on those delicious morsels you create. So fun getting acquainted and truly hope to see you soon!

  16. 16

    Paula — June 27, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

    Looks like a wonderful time in a beautifully stunning location. You certainly captured some fabulous memories with your amazing photographs.

  17. 17

    Megan {Country Cleaver} — June 27, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

    I’m THRILLED you love our state. Come back SOON. I mean it woman. This is precisely why I adore Eastern Washington. If it’s not the apple orchards, it’s the wheat fields that steal my heart. You saw some of the most prized places in our state that many who live here don’t get or take the chance to see. I am even Jealous. PS – I freakin’ love Leavenworth.

  18. 18

    Delia — June 28, 2012 @ 10:25 am

    Oh my gosh! That is beautiful …def makes me want to visit. The cottage looks amazing.

  19. 19

    Lindsay Austin-Greene — June 28, 2012 @ 9:35 pm

    You did my state amazing justice with your photography! I highly recommend Leavenworth for Oktoberfest or for their winter festival

  20. 20

    Jessi — June 29, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

    Wow, that is amazing. My mom has family out that way….I am wondering why I have never gone there. Absolutely breath-taking!

  21. 21

    Jen at The Three Little Piglets — June 29, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

    So beautiful! I wish I’d had a few more days out on Washington to head out of the city – the mountains were just gorgeous!

  22. 22

    Kristi — July 2, 2012 @ 11:12 pm

    Stumbled upon your blog tonight via Pinterest. Such a treat to read about your “Tree Top Trip”. I live in the heart of the Wenatchee Valley and my husband farms 1200 acres of apples, cherries and pears. We that live here tend to take this for granted, nice to have a remider of what a treasure we do have.

  23. 23

    Katie from Katie's Cucina — July 3, 2012 @ 7:57 am

    Wow Jess–gorgeous views! I’ve never been to an apple orchard before. Thanks for giving me a glimpse inside one!

  24. 24

    Debra — July 7, 2012 @ 11:49 am

    I lived in Oregon for 15 years. I made it to Washington a few times. Both states are awesomely beautiful. I sure enjoyed your photo’s.

  25. 25

    Heather of Kitchen Concoctions — July 21, 2012 @ 11:44 am

    What an exciting trip! The scenery is breathtaking!

  26. 26

    The Novice Chef » walk down memory lane…2012 edition! — December 31, 2012 @ 12:01 am

    […] also got my travel on and visited so many new and familiar places like…. Washington, The Bahamas, Hershey, South Carolina, Seattle, Cozumel, Idaho, Texas (3 times!), Orlando, […]

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