WAPWALLOPEN, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A family-owned orchard in Luzerne County has been around for more than a century, but on top of its traditional year-open farm, the orchard celebrated 35 years of family, fruit, and flavor at its annual fall festival during the weekend.
Heller Orchards in Wapwallopen has expanded its farm year after year, and its annual Apple Festival has grown to become a large part of that expansion with thousands stopping by to eat and shop on orchard grounds.
Many grabbed a basket at heller orchards on sunday and filled it with a variety of apples.
Apple picking became one of the new autumn activities at the annual festival last year and is now becoming a staple of this continually growing farm.
“More apple things than I have ever seen in my entire life. More vendors, more people. I get that Disney World kind of feeling,” said Brian Barchik of Shickshinny.
The weekend apple festival featured an assortment of food from apple cider and fresh hot apple dumplings to pizza and stromboli.
People could shop from more than 20 vendors, admire the fall scenery, and buy some freshly carved-out, unique wooden art pieces.
“It’s actually great for the community. It’s very challenging to have a festival at a very active fruit farm but we seem to pull it off. We had a nice weekend,” said Heller Orchard owner Greg Heller.
The orchard has evolved from a 20-acre site to grow fruit to an area now three times that size.
“It started out small but as the years went by it just got bigger and bigger. If you go back years and years it’s really something. It turned out to be a wonderful thing,” said Nelly Hoy, Greg Heller’s mother-in-law.
Heller is a third-generation farmer in the fruit business, carrying on a tradition his grandfather started in 1919.
“Andrea and Greg Heller, they put their heart into their fruit and I think people do appreciate it. Everybody knows the Heller’s apples and they know they are getting a quality fruit,” Noy explained.
Something anyone of any age can appreciate.
“The food here is really great. The fruit is very healthy and it’s really, really good. It’s just fun. It’s really fun going here,” said Wapwallopen resident Addison Pecile.
The owner tells 28/22 News as soon as the holiday season comes to an end and the Christmas tree gets put away, the planning for next year’s festival begins.