Before You Arrive
How much is admission?
Do you accept checks?
We do not accept personal checks, but business / organization / school checks are fine. Visa, MasterCard & Discover credit and debit cards may also be used, but not American Express.
Wow! It’s really busy at your place on fall weekends – any suggestions for avoiding crowds?
We recommend visiting during the week, but, if you want to beat the crowds on Saturdays during September-October, we recommend visiting before 11 am or after 5 pm. If you want to avoid the crowds on a fall Sunday, arrive either right at opening (11 am), or after 5 pm.
Do you have an ATM?
We currently do not have an ATM. There are two banks (Marine Bank & Busey Bank) with ATM capability located a mile-and-a-half north of us on Duncan Road.
I have tokens from last year — can I still use them this year?
Yes! Our tokens never expire.
How far are you from campus? From Chicago?
We’re an easy 15 minute drive from campus. We’re 2.5 hours south of Chicago, just off of I-57. Click here to get directions to our place.
Are pets allowed?
No. With the exception of service animals that are clearly marked, we are unable to allow pets on the property due to health and safety concerns. Please leave all pets at home.
Are you handicap accessible?
Our store & café are on flat, level ground – easily accessible for those with disabilities. The petting zoo & kids’ area is also accessible down a slight decline on an asphalt path. Gravel & uneven ground, however, make reaching the orchard & pumpkin patch more challenging.
May we bring our own food & drink?
Since we have both a restaurant and bakery on site, no other food or drink is allowed.
Do you sell Christmas trees?
While You're Here
What allergens are in your donuts?
Eggs, milk, soy & wheat. There are no peanut ingredients in the donuts and they are cooked in trans fat-free vegetable oil, not peanut oil.
What’s in your cider?
Just the juice squeezed from the apples. We add nothing else – no preservatives, no sugar, not even water.
Do you pasteurize your cider?
We pasteurize our cider, as required by state law. For those looking to make homemade hard cider, our pasteurized cider will still ferment.
Do you sell #2 apples (a.k.a. “seconds)?
No. All of our “seconds” are used in our cider-making process and are therefore not available for purchase.
What do you do with the apples that fall on the ground?
It’s frustrating to sometimes see so many good looking apples fall to the ground underneath a tree. Here’s why we don’t pick up fallen apples or allow non-profit groups to gather them: Unless the apples are picked up immediately after a wind storm (or whatever caused them to drop), there are potential health hazards associated with dropped apples. Rodents like mice and voles tend to use whatever is available, including fallen fruit, as cover and will even nest among the dropped apples. There are also disease-related issues exacerbated by hot or humid weather, so it is best to not even take the risk of using the dropped apples in products like cider.
Is your fruit non-GMO (genetically modified)?
The fruit trees in our orchard are not genetically modified, but instead come from the centuries-old practice of grafting, which involves transplanting the tissue from one tree to another to get new varieties, such as Honeycrisp.
Are you organic?
Not quite, but we are as close to organic as possible for our climate region. Extensive university research has shown that the high humidity here makes commercial production without fungicides impossible. In addition, the lack of natural predators for the infamous codling moth (whose larvae is the classic apple worm) makes some spraying for that pest necessary.
In addition, technologies developed in recent years allow us to greatly reduce our pesticide usage compared to 15 years ago. These Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods enable us to:
- Monitor conditions in the orchard and pumpkin patch.
- Apply sprays only when necessary.
- Target only pests that represent a threat.
Many of these new techniques have been developed in our own backyard at the University of Illinois. We have built a strong relationship with scientists there, ensuring that you can enjoy flavorful apples without pests or excessive chemicals.
CLICK HERE for a chart to learn about apple pests and their management.
Taking Us Home
Does the cider have to be refrigerated?
We encourage customers to treat cider like milk: refrigerate it when you get home. After that, it takes about two weeks for refrigerated cider to ferment. Fermented cider isn’t harmful to drink, but will definitely take on a vinegary taste.
How should I store my apples & pumpkins?
Store apples in as cool a location as possible (without freezing them). If refrigerating, keep the apples covered so they don’t dry out; even an occasional spritz of water will help. The most important tip for pumpkin storage is to keep them dry. Any surface that is moist will rot the pumpkin from the bottom up. Never store apples and pumpkins together in the same location. Apples emit ethylene gas, which causes pumpkins to rot.
Do the fritters freeze well?
Fritters are subject to freezer burn if you keep them in the containers we sell them in, but you’ll be fine if you stick them in sealable Ziploc bags instead.
What’s your return policy?
- Store credit (in the form of a gift card)
- Equivalent product exchange (the product must be similar to the original and be the same price level or less)
- Full refund (applies only to jarred food or non-food merchandise found to be broken, defective or incomplete)
The following time restrictions apply:
- 3 days – items made in the bakery & cafe
- 7 days – produce, plants, cider & snack items
- 30 days – all other food and non-food items
Customers who are issued refunds will be credited in the same manner of payment from the original purchase (in other words, purchases made with a credit card will be refunded on that same credit card). All returns require a valid picture ID. If the customer is unable to physically return to the store, call 217.359.5565 (ext. 0). Refunds will not be issued for sale or clearance items.
Refunds on overcharges require a valid receipt and must be claimed within 60 days of the purchase. All overcharges will be refunded in the same method as the payment.