Buffalo Ridge Orchard

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“The best thing about being an apple farmer is that, unlike a ripe tomato, [an apple] doesn’t have to be picked right now. It can wait until tomorrow. It is a nice pace. – Emma Johnson

Buffalo Ridge Orchard is located at the top of Buffalo Ridge, just outside of Central City, Iowa. It’s a picturesque landscape–so calm and serene that all you can hear are songbirds and the leaves of 3,600 apple trees rustling in the breeze.

Farmer Emma Johnson’s mom started the orchard with the romantic memory of a heritage apple tree from her grandmother’s farm as her inspiration. Each year, the family adds more trees to the orchard, allowing them to grow their business slowly, at a comfortable pace. Emma; her husband, Marcus; her parents; and a few others all work the land. Buffalo Ridge Orchard is a labor of love.

Buffalo Ridge grows over 50 varieties of apples, with the goal of providing one yellow and one red variety at a time for the length of the season. Of special interest is Emma’s favorite mid-season apple, Sweet 16 (also known as Song of September). It is an especially sweet, crisp, and crunchy apple with hints of cherry she can smell as she harvests them. Marcus is fond of the Swiss Gourmet variety. It has a nutty flavor, and pairs extremely well with cheese.

"We grow many apples that are not typically available at your local grocery store.  We grow apples that we feel have great flavor and texture rather than just a great appearance."

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Buffalo Ridge on the value of community:

At Buffalo Ridge Orchard we understand that our success is hooked to the vibrancy of the communities that surround us.  When our community is doing well we do well.  This is why we are both producers and customers of the Co-op.  We know that the money we spend at the Co-op helps support the purchasing of more local products.  New Pioneer Food Co-op also provides us an authentic connection to customers.  New Pioneer does not just present the image of buying local, they actually build relationships with farmers and producers to provide local products to their customers.  This is why we see them as a vital partner in connecting to the Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, and Coralville communities.  The more vibrant and supportive that our communities are makes them better places to live, thrive, and survive within and better people to be around.

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