Ok, so technically Catoctin Mountain Orchard is closed until May 1 (though their Web site proclaims that you can still shop online!). But I think we are all ready for spring, and I know I will be heading back to the orchard when it reopens.
I have been to the orchard several times since I moved to Frederick, and it is always a fun stop (I drive on 15 a lot). The produce is top notch (check their Web site for what’s available), and the bakery is as outstanding as other reviewers have said. The store also offers all kinds of jellies, jams, pickles, soup mixes, trail mixes, and sauces. You can also cut your own flowers. There is a playground to the right of the parking lot, which I did not realize for my first several visits. It has a large wooden castle and train, a sandbox, and a big hay mountain for kids to climb on.
My daughter’s kindergarten class went on a field trip to Catoctin Mountain Orchard last fall, and we had the opportunity to walk inside some of the storage facilities for apples (brrr!), and to see the room where the apples are sorted by size. The owners were incredibly friendly and great with the kids–they handed out samples of apple cider and apples, and drove us up to the pumpkin patch and waited patiently while each child found the perfect pumpkin (this DID require a lot of patience!). The owners told us some of the history of the farm, which has been owned by the same family since 1961 (the farm market itself has been around since 1948). The field trip was a great experience, especially for the kids. They were excited to find out that the apples in Frederick County school lunches come from Catoctin Mountain Orchards, at least for a portion of the year.
I do think the prices are a little steep, but it’s worth it. I was especially won over after the field trip and meeting the owners, who obviously work so hard at what they do.
Hours are as follows, from Web site:
Friday-Sunday: 9 am-6 pm
November & December
Monday-Sunday: 9am – 5pm
Friday, Saturday & Sunday: 9am – 5pm
Closed February, March and April
Reopens May 1