A visit to Patch Orchards in Lebanon NH is a slow climb into the sky with a cinematic-quality view awaiting you as you pull into a parking spot. You'll have passed the apple orchards, where the Paula Reds are scheduled to be the apple season's first arrivals. The barn behind you is where Cody Patch showed us how apples are sorted and where approximately 20,000 gallons of cider--hard and sweet--will soon be made.
Cody Patch and his siblings are the 8th generation of this family's farmers. The Patch ancestors settled and farmed the same land beginning in 1775. For the modern Patches, diversifying is the key. They're in the maple sugaring business with 6,000 taps, working to expand the number to 50,000. There is a corn maze for visitors to wander through and sweet corn to take home. (I did, and recommend it.)
At the barn's end is the retail part of the business. Shelves
with mason jars of homemade corn relish and dill and sweet pickles. Cider doughnuts and fresh eggs. Honey from on-site beehives. Maple syrup, maple cotton candy, and of course, maple creemees to savor. (Once again--and you knew this-- I did, and recommend it.)
It's a spot that welcomes visitors even as the work goes on around them. 2.8 miles from Lebanon's Colburn Park. To reach the farm, head out from downtown Lebanon NH on Route 120 toward Meriden. Shortly after you pass Keene Medical Supplies on the right, make a left onto Churchill Way. Continue ever upward.
(Featured photo, top, is of Artie and Cody Patch. The family also includes another brother Josh, a sister, Catherine who teaches in Hanover, and their parents, Matt and Barb Patch. Open on weekends. Check the Patch Orchards Facebook page for hours and additional information.)
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