Buffalo Ridge Orchard


“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.

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