Plenty of pickins’ at the Apple Hut

The warm sun shined down on my brother and I as we drove down the windy road to Beloit, Wisconsin. Picket signs led the way to our destination.  After a short drive down Walters Road, we found a break in the trees. There was a small, candy-red shack with big, honey-orange pumpkins and colorful pots of flowers out front. The sign up top read “Apple Hut.”

Column by Shakeva Oliver Staff Writer
Column by
Shakeva Oliver
Staff Writer

Our excitement grew as we drove up the gravel driveway into the small parking lot. We could see the beginning of the apple orchard just beyond the wood fence that lined one side of the parking lot.

The tall grass waved at us in the soft wind as we walked on the gravel towards the door of the shack. There was a quaint sign next to the door that read “Bless All Who Enter Here.”

I decided to take this trip as a welcome to the fall season.

As soon as we stepped into Apple Hut, 1718 W Walter Road, we were greeted with the sweet smell of apples and nutmeg with an underlying woodsy scent, the pure smell of autumn. Bags of different types of apples sat on top of a red checkered tier table. There was Cortland, Honey Crisp, McIntosh and Gala apples left.

The all-wood walls and floors in the shack added to the cozy feeling of the hut and the Fall smells. To the left were cases of homemade jewelry and knickknacks. Past those were tables and stands of Apple Hut merchandise: t-shirts, apple pie and pumpkin pie spices, apple and squash cookbooks, dressings, honey and even apple salsa.

My brother hovered near the small kitchen that sold fresh apple cider donuts. The smell was enticing, but he wanted to look around a bit more. He pointed out more novelties with a child-like eagerness. We scanned the shelves full of BLT dip, cranberry jalapeno jam, apple butter, popcorn and soap. A large cooler held gallons of fresh apple cider.

We met the owner, Lauri Jenson. She gave us a warm welcome and gave us a little history lesson on the Apple Hut.

“We’ve been here for 36 years and just love it,” Jenson said, “Our customer base keeps growing and it’s like one big happy family.”

Jenson’s friend, Sandra Koehmstredt, was working that day, too. She was in the back, buried behind crates of freshly picked apples. She carefully inspected each apple before she bags them for the tier table near the door.

Near the front was Jenson’s post: the register. There was a shelf next to it lined with homemade treats like caramel apples, pumpkin bread and apple cinnamon bread. I decided on one of the huge caramel apples, and my brother went for the apple cinnamon bread.

We could see endless rows of apple trees. The grass was soft under our shoes as we walked down the rows. My brother sat at a picnic table and started in on his snack while I continued to tread the apple trees.

They were smaller than I had imagined, and their branches seemed to grow down rather with the beautiful, smooth apples hidden behind the leaves of every twisted branch. Whenever the glimmering sunlight hit them, their colors seemed to intensify. Even the apples that had fallen to the ground were a sight to see.

We headed back down the wooden steps to the parking lot, satisfied with the time we spent. The gravel under our shoes seemed to crunch a little softer as we left, like it was sad to see us go. Before we pulled of, we took one last look at the little red shack between the trees.

We rode back down Walters Road with sticky smiles and treats in hand. For more information call: (608) 362-1961.

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