Only 3 days until the spookiest day of the year! In honor of Halloween, I have selected 10 fun facts about Kimmel to share with all of you! Some facts might be new to you, while others you may have heard before. Settle in with a warm glass of Kimmel's apple cider to discover freaky fun facts that will allow you to get to know the orchard better.
1. The House on the Hill
If you have visited Kimmel, you have probably noticed the house on the hill. This is the original home to Laurine and Richard Kimmel, the founders of the orchard. The view from their house is breathtaking, as it overlooks the rolling orchard hills. In 2010, the inside of the home was renovated but is still as historic as ever. Special guests and faculty use this home for overnight trips.
2. Fermented Skins
Did you know all the grapes used in Kimmel's wine are grown directly on the orchard? There is a small vineyard located amongst the fruit trees. All the grapes are usually hand-harvested and transported to Whiskey Run Creek Winery and Distillery, where they use our homegrown grapes to produce our wine. Once the winemaking process is complete, the wine is transported back to Kimmel. Wines tastings are available in the retail store. This allows you to try multiple wines before committing to a whole bottle but trust me, after one sip and you will be stocking up! Check out the recent "Kimmel Wines" blog to discover your wine match!
3. Sole Sorter
Once the apples are harvested from the orchard, they are sorted in our sorting machine into either grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3 apples. Grade 2 apples contain the same juicy flavor as grade 1 but have blemishes or bruising. Grade 3 apples are sorted delicately into our apple bin to go straight to our cider press. Apples are sorted via the Durand Wayland Apple Sorting Machine, which is the only one in the state of Nebraska. This sorting machine can be seen in the Apple Barn and is usually running from late August to early October.
4. Fangtastic Festivals
For each of the major fruit crops and food products, Kimmel dedicates a whole festival to them. Unfortunately, due to COVID, not all of the festivals were able to occur this year. In the past, there has been a strawberry, pumpkin, donut, apple cider, and of course Applejack festival! Luckily, the donut festival will still occur this year! Like Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard on Facebook to stay updated on events. As of now, Donut Fest will be held on Saturday, November 28th from 9 AM - 5 PM. This is your chance to experience more than just our apple donuts! Pumpkin, blueberry, and cherry flavors will also be available!
5. Ooey-Gooey Golden Goo
Through a partnership with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Entomology and Bee Lab, there are multiple beehives located throughout the orchard. Not only do the bees pollinate our fruit crops, but they also produce honey for UNL! This past summer, employees were able to witness the honey-making process, and even taste some as well. It truly was ooey-gooey golden deliciousness.
6. Creepy, Kooky, Mysterious, and Spooky Kimmel Family
As you may already know, the Richard P. Kimmel and Laurine Kimmel Charitable Foundation oversees 3 Nebraska City favorites. These communities include Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and Kregel Windmill Factory Museum. Each location promotes a variety of programs, including community, agriculture, performing and visual arts, education, research, and more. All 3 encompass ideals and values the Kimmel's would be proud of!
7. Ice Scream, You Scream
Kimmel has been fortunate enough in the past two years to be featured by local Nebraska creameries. In 2019, (402) Creamery used Kimmel apple cider to make a deliciously spiced sorbet. This past summer of 2020, Coneflower Creamery picked fresh strawberries and showcased them in a variety of different ice creams. As an intern, I was able to visit this creamy and experience the ice cream making process! Kimmel hopes for more partnerships, like these, in the future.
8. Alluring Apple
Visiting the orchard can be tricky with little ones, as they are automatically drawn to the big apple in the playground! The playground located on the orchard has unique equipment that children could spend hours dangling off of. Most people have to pry the kids away from the park with bribes of apple cider donuts and slushies. All playgrounds promote imaginative play, and ours especially, as there is an app that correlates with the park. Buzz's Apple Hunt creates creative ways to interact with the equipment, other children, and the supervising individual. There are signs located on the playground with directions on how to download and use this app.
9. A Night You Won't Forget
Many don't know this one! Kimmel is a location for Harvest Hosts. Harvest Hosts is a paid membership for RV camping at wineries, breweries, farms, and many other locations! In the parking lot of Kimmel, members can reserve a spot for the night to stay in their RV. This allows them to browse the store and experience the orchard while having a safe place to park for the night. This summer was a busy one for Harvest Hosts locations, as more people seemed to be camping and traveling by RV to enjoy a safe trip away from home!
10. Trick or Treat
No tricks and just treats can be found in the Apple Barn! This Halloween season, warm apple cider donuts and caramel apple oatmeal cookies are calling your name! Kids aren't the only ones who get to enjoy sweet treats this season. If you like to bake, there are a variety of different dry mixes also available from pumpkin bread to apple crisp! If sugar isn't your thing, warm apple cider always fills that sweetness void as well. The store is exploding with options to satisfy your sweet tooth!
Hopefully, these facts were freaky enough to put you in the spirit of Halloween! You are never too old to celebrate. Kimmel is full of fun and unique experiences, and you're missing out if you haven't visited the orchard. Schedule a trip to visit soon and experience the magic first hand!
Alyssa Rosenbaum - Education and Food Safety Intern