Frequently Asked Questions
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Why do you have multiple orchards?
We have four orchards in Galesville, Eau Claire, and Chippewa Falls, WI, and Lake City, MN. Unlike traditional crop farms which are usually located in the same area, there are many more weather risks involved with growing apples. So, we have separate orchards because if we get hail, frost, drought, or any other weather event, chances are that at least one of our orchards will be spared so we can continue to provide delicious, nutritious apples for Wisconsin and Minnesota!
Is Ferguson's Orchards a family farm?
We are absolutely a family farm! We are 100% owned and operated by the Ferguson family - Tom, Deb, Andy, Ashley and Joe Ferguson. We live on the orchards, and growing apples is ALL we do. The only thing we love more than growing apples is inviting the public to enjoy our farm every fall!
How are you different than all the other apple orchards/pumpkin patches around?
This one's easy - we stand apart in many ways! In our orchards - since we grow about 10x as many apples as all the other smaller local orchards COMBINED, our fruit and growing practices are held to a much higher standard by the USDA and other agencies. We do not use organophosphates or many other things commonly used in smaller orchards. In our activity areas - we are different because we simply offer many more activities! We work year-round improving, adding and beautifying our grounds for our visitors. If your tradition has been visiting another apple orchard or pumpkin patch, you don't know what you're missing and we'd love to have you try our farm this fall!
Why do you charge admission?
While most people think we just sit around all year and watch the apples grow, we work hard year-round to ensure a great crop. Because of the costs associated with growing apples, opening our farm to the public, insurance, etc., we do charge a small entrance fee. But, since we want you to keep coming back, each admission includes a FREE season pass good for the entire fall! When comparing prices with other apple orchards and pumpkin patches that do not charge an admission, we encourage you to compare all the offerings - we have much more than a small corn maze and free wagon ride!
Can I bring my own food to the orchard?
No - unfortunately due to our food safety protocols we ask that you please leave your food at home - we do offer plenty of lunch options like pulled pork, hot dogs, grilled cheese etc. Please note that lunch food is not served on weekdays. If you have questions about specific items (i.e. cake on a birthday) please call our store - we try to accommodate everyone best we can!
What should I bring for our day at the orchard?
With all the things to see and do here, you are definitely going to want a camera! As far as clothing, since the apple season goes from late August to early November, the weather will range from shorts and T-shirts to sweatshirts and jackets! Be sure to check the forecast to see if you should bring sunscreen, umbrellas, etc. Bug spray comes in handy too!
Can I bring my pets to the orchard?
No. Unfortunately, since we grow food (apples!), our food safety rules prohibit animals in the orchard and barn. Plus, our farm animals sometimes get spooked! Of course, service animals are welcome.
Is professional photography allowed?
Yes, during our fall season! All we ask is that you and your clients pay the admission, which includes the free season pass. If you're taking photos professionally, this applies anywhere on our property even if you aren't in our normal "admission area." While not required, we'd love any shout outs, tags or mentions! During our Christmas season, there is no outside professional photography allowed.
How hard is the corn maze?
We are not (and don't try to be) the type of corn maze that takes half a day - there is simply too much to do and see while you're here! Most can make it through the maze in 20-30 minutes. Our Eau Claire corn maze tends to be a bit bigger, so we post a small "spoiler alert" map at the entrance so you can take a picture of it with your phone in case you get lost (or if you really can't wait for another caramel apple!).
Are those grapes growing on the trellis?
Believe it or not, those are apples! Just like vineyards, all of our modern apple plantings are on a trellis system for support. The trees will stay that close together forever and form sort of a "wall" or hedge of fruit. This system we use is called Tall Spindle High Density Planting.
Do you spray?
We use only Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques and are proud to be both Tru-Earth and GAP (USDA Good Agricultural Practices) Certified. What this means is that we use a wide variety of natural tools to monitor and control pests and disease in our orchards. Only after we've identified a specific threat and believe it will negatively affect our fruit do we use targeted sprays to minimize any unnecessary use. Most don't realize that since we're a larger orchard, we are much more heavily regulated and inspected than smaller orchards and we achieve third-party certifications each year. The result is safe, healthy, and clean fruit that we are proud to feed to our own families.