The Community Orchard Review

Autumn McClain, Opinion Editor

The Community Orchard is located at 2237 160th Street, Fort Dodge, IA. I recently had the opportunity to visit the orchard with my family. It was a fun, wholesome experience, and I’m here to enlighten you about all the wonderful things this attraction has to offer!

The apple orchard opened in 1952, with members of surrounding communities eager to buy the farm’s produce. Today, this orchard does much more than simply sell apples. The Community Orchard has many activities for kids to enjoy, and they even host school bus tours! They also have a gift shop, a café, a market, and a pumpkin patch! There are plenty of fun things to do  for families and people of all ages at The Community Orchard.

There are many different activities to participate in such as navigating your way through a corn maze, an assortment of playgrounds, and a trike race track named ‘Apple County Speedway’. There are two mazes at The Community Orchard. One is a small maze designed for toddlers, and there is also a full-size corn maze. The corn maze has story boards that guide you on your way to the exit. Each year The Community Orchard picks a theme, and in 2018 the theme was ‘Beauty and the Bees’. There was much information about the endangerment of bees, and how bees are beneficial to our environment.

The board games located in the gift shop were also bee themed with phrases such as “Bee Kind, Bee Humble”. The board games are free for visitors to use as well as the array of lawn games.

There were also attractions such as a corn box, which was filled with loose corn kernels, shovels, and buckets for children to play. The blow-up jumping pads for children were also popular among visitors. Tire Mountain, made of old tractor tires and dirt, is fun for families to climb, and Ellie’s Playhouse allows visitors to dress their own scarecrows, and play on horse swings and slides. There are plenty of activities to keep the kiddos occupied.

While the kids are playing outside, adults can visit the quaint café located near the entrance of the orchard. Here they serve delectable, made from scratch fudge, homemade pies, apple cider, and much more. There is also a small shop branching off of the café that has home décor and knick-knacks. In the market, you can find fresh hand-picked apples, organic honey, fresh pies, and their signature item ‘maple dip’. Maple dip is a creamy apple dip, and a personal favorite of mine.

Finally, the best part of your visit was a ride down to the giant pumpkin patch on the ‘Pumpkin Cruiser’. The ‘Pumpkin Cruiser’ is a wooden trailer ride with benches pulled by an old truck or tractor. It can fit 20-30 passengers per trip. My little brother and I got the VIP treatment when we road in the passenger seat next to Bill. Bill was the driver of the pumpkin cruiser, and he explained to me that The Community Orchard is a family owned and operated business. He said his favorite part is driving people to the pumpkin patch to pick their own pumpkins. “It always puts a smile on my face” he said. It put a smile on my face as well when I walked my little brother out into that pumpkin patch to pick our pumpkins. We would carry them back onto the ‘Pumpkin Cruiser’ with a feeling of accomplishment.

Needless to say, there is never a dull moment when you visit the community orchard. It’s a worthwhile experience of wholesome family fun!