One of the most unique aspects of Capitol Reef is the Fruita Orchards. Long before Capitol Reef was a national anything, the residents of Fruita lived and farmed among the red cliffs. And fortunately for us, Capitol Reef now protects and preserves the Fruita orchards for everyone to enjoy. So we at the Lodge at Red River Ranch thought we’d tell you a little bit more about the orchards, just in case you were wondering…
Settled in 1880, the“Town of Fruita” never had more than 10 families living in the community. Today there are only a handful of structures that remain from the original settlers: the Gifford House, the Schoolhouse, the Blacksmith Shop, and a cabin or two. Luckily, the orchards are still around. The residents of Fruita planted the orchards both for subsistence, and to sell to neighboring communities, which brought in much-needed cash to the area. There are over 3000 trees that remain today, of many different varieties. There are almond, apricot, apple, cherry, mulberry, peach, pear, plum and walnut. The orchards are currently maintained by the National Park Service and are protected as the Fruita Rural Historic Landscape, which is actually listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
But the best thing about the Fruita Orchards is that you can pick the fruit and enjoy it throughout the harvest seasons. If you just want to stroll around among the trees and munch on an apple or two, you can do so without any fees. And if you’re in the mood to take some of the fruit home with you, there are self-pay stations in each of the orchards.
So when are the harvest times? Well that varies from year-to-year, but the following are pretty good guidelines. Go and check out one of the best things about Capitol Reef – the Fuita Orchards:
Cherries: June 11–July 7
Apricots: June 27–July 22 (early)
June 28–July 18 (regular)
Peaches: August 4–September 6
Pears: August 7–September 8
Apples: September 4–October 17