A Day at the Orchard

Last month I had the opportunity to spend a day visiting the Musselman’s plant and orchard in Pennsylvania. To say I was excited about this trip would be an understatement. As a kid I spent several vacations visiting my great aunt’s apple farm in Indiana. I loved going to her farmhouse and hanging out in their store where they sold cider and apples.

My trip to the Musselman’s plant did not disappoint. We first visited their plant in Orrtanna, PA. It was fascinating to see how apples were turned into applesauce and juice. One of the things that impressed me about the plant was their concern for the environment.

They use every bit of the apple at Musselman’s. Apples are washed, then peeled and cored to make the sauce. The cores and the peels are then used for making juice. Any leftovers or apples that don’t meet the standard are sent to farms for feed. They recycle almost all their water used in the process and only use apples grown in America. Many of their plants are located near orchards to cut down on transportation costs. I know you can’t know everything about the foods you eat, but knowing a little more about Musselman’s philosophy and commitment to quality makes me want to buy their products!

The best thing about the plant, it smelled AMAZING! I always imagined factories to smell – well, like factories. But this plant smelled like Thanksgiving. The apple smell was everywhere. By the time we left the plant I was starving and craving anything apple.

We then headed to the El Vista Orchards. This is where memories of my childhood came flooding back. We loaded up in an old school bus, and farmer Dave (the owner of the orchard) took us on a tour. It was amazing to see all the varieties of apples growing and learn about all the techniques they use to grow better apples. Did you know that they don’t use apples that fall on the ground? I always figured that they used those apples for juice, but apparently because of some disease (which I can’t remember) they don’t use them at all.

It was so much fun to hang out with Dave and learn more about apples. Especially since they are one of my favorite foods. The highlight was being able to pick an apple off a tree. Now I realize for some of you this isn’t a big deal, but for those of us who live in the city, this was so cool!

Side note: We are currently in apple season. If you have the opportunity to take your kids to an pick-your-own farm, do it! Fresh apples taste so much better than those from the grocery store, and your kids will have a great time picking apples!

I love learning more about the foods we eat and how things are made. There are so many choices at the grocery store and sometimes actually seeing what goes into your food can be the deciding factor. I am glad Musselman’s offers a natural applesauce as the flavored ones that my kids seem to love.

I hope to partner with Musselman’s on a few projects in 2011 so look forward to some great giveaways and recipes.


  1. We are always trying to by products that are made in the US so thanks for the tip! Here in Michigan we have apple orchards everywhere. But I have to confess that my favorite is the apple cider donuts, not the apples themselves 🙂

  2. that is good to know about their concern for the environment. Now I don’t feel so bad when I buy my applesauce and juice, instead of make my own.

  3. Serenity you just can’t explain an apple cider donut, lol. I have stood in line for 45 minutes to have that decadent dessert. I have let my dd miss a day of school to go and pick apples since we live in FL there are no apple trees to pick from. My brotherman lives in NC and we now have a new family tradition that we so enjoy and that is picking our own apples. The views are amazing!

  4. Ashly Lowe says:

    Where in Indiana did your great aunt live? We have a GREAT pick your own farm here called Huber’s. We take advantage of all fruit seasons. Apples, peaches, grapes, necterines, all berries, pumpkins, etc… they have an awesome family style resturant, petting zoo, winery, ice cream shop, and market. the market has fresh baked pies, cakes, carmel apples, etc… You can also tour the apple factory where they make apple cider and apple butter. YUM! Now that your a “little” closer to IN the invite is always open to come stay and visit Huber’s. We have plenty of room to crash in the basement!!! We also live close to Louisville, the boys would love the louisville sluggar bat museum.

  5. Oh wow, you were practically in my back yard! I grew up over there and now live about 30-40 minutes away. Glad you had a great time.

  6. What an awesome trip. I always buy their applesauce it taste awesome. Love the tips about buying in the U.S. and their love of our planet. Thanks for sharing

  7. I wish we had apple orchards down here. At least we have the Blue Bell Creamery to visit. 🙂

    I’m thankful to hear that Musselman’s is so responsible with their process and product. I often buy their brand of applesauce and now I can do it with even more confidence.

    • TheHappyHousewife says:

      My husband LOVES Blue Bell ice cream. I think he would move to Texas, just so he could get their ice cream!

  8. My family and I went apple picking for the first time ever this year. I have NEVER tasted an apple so good as the one I ate off the tree!!

  9. Toni….I’m so glad we had a chance to hang out for a day!!!! : ) I hope all is well with the move..

  10. I love Musselman’s applesauce and buy it when I can. I love homemade applesauce as well. Yum! And fresh apples are the best! Thanks for sharing!

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