By JIMMY LAWTON
RENSSELAER FALLS -- A local couple has transformed its U-pick apple orchard into a family-friendly market and play place.
Steven and Gayle Fobare with help from family and friends, spent years planting and growing an orchard at their 180 Johnson Road home.
The orchard now known as Fobares Fruits will host a grand opening Sept. 7 and 8 to celebrate the accomplishment that was years in the making.
“We started this about four years ago as a hobby and grew it into what it is today,” he said.
To commemorate the event kids games, including sack and stick races, will be held Saturday and a one-man-band will play from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Fobare said the grand opening will celebrate the growth of Fobare’s Fruits. He said what began as a simple orchard, has grown into a family day trip.
"We started out with about 350 trees and we added about 2,000 per year since then. Now we have more than 6,000," Fobare said.
He said the orchard offers 12 varieties of apples at around half the price charged at supermarkets.
“We try to keep our prices fair and low,” he said.
But the orchard isn't the only thing that's grown, Fobare’s Fruits offers a western-themed playground for children known as 'Fort Applewood." Fobare says children can play on a large covered wagon, teepees with tunnels and a tire fort. Fobare said it also features a 32 x 70 foot "Kangaroo Jumping Pillow," which he says is one of only 800 in the world.
"It's the biggest one they make," he said adding that the air pad can hold up to 40 adults at a time.
Fobare said the orchard also features a gift shop that offers local wares and a bakery that features a variety of homemade goods.
"We are actually looking for local craters and artisans. We want to sell as many local products as we can," he said.
At the bakery, visitors can get apple pies, cinnamon rolls, caramel apples and apple cider donuts.
With fall fast approaching Fobare said the orchard will offer pumpkins and provide hay rides.
“We’ve got about 10,000 pumpkins,” he said. “They just exploded this year.”
Fobare said he and his wife have invested their life into the business to establish a unique North Country experience.
"We poured our heart and soul into this and we hope we have created something people can really enjoy," he said.
For more information about Fobare’s Fruits visit fobaresfruits.com.
Local artists and crafters interested in selling wares at the gift shop should call 344 – 1207 or 528-0052.