Hurricane Hollow Apple Orchard
By Annakate Tefft Ross

Like asparagus in the springtime, apples are a sure sign that autumn is near.

Leon and Edwina Boyd know that all too well. The couple started Hurricane Hollow Apple Orchard in Putnam County in 1989 after Leon retired from the Singer Sewing Company in Murfreesboro. Why apples? “I guess my mother had a big influence on that,” Leon explains. “She always wanted an apple orchard and always had apples for us children. I guess it just stuck with me.” His roots also had an influence on the name of the orchard. “Hurricane Hollow was the area Leon grew up in, about a half mile from our orchard today,” says Edwina. “Back then, old timers used the word â€~hurricaneâ€TM instead of â€~tornado,â€TM and they were known to happen in these parts.”

Leon says apples were also a good choice for the orchard because of the climate. More delicate fruits like peaches or pears can be damaged by the threat of frost. To determine his varieties, Leon talked to grocers, other growers, and consumers to see what characteristics he should look for in his apples. “Everyone I talked to said people wanted â€~juicy and crisp applesâ€TM—every single person,” he says laughing.

The couple has added new varieties every year. Their current listings include Gala, Jonalicious, Jonathan, Pink Lady, Cameo, Honey Crisp, Yellow Delicious, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Macintosh, Stayman-Winesap, Mutsu, and others. One of Leonâ€TMs favorite varieties right now is the Stayman-Winesap, available starting in mid-September. “Itâ€TMs an apple unto itself. Itâ€TMs just so sweet and juicy—the flavor is out of this world.”

The Boyds also grow some antique varieties like Wolf River, which has become one of their most popular. “Iâ€TMd say four of ten people come out just for that apple,” chimes in Edwina. “Theyâ€TMre great for drying, applesauce, and apple butter. And theyâ€TMre huge—they can weigh in at two pounds.” She adds that they are sometimes called“horse apples” because they get so large.

I asked Leon his favorite way to enjoy apples. I was referring to his preferred method of cookingpreparation (stewed, baked into pies, as applesauce, etc.), but before I could further clarify, he enthusiastically answered, “While picking!” He says he canâ€TMt help but munch on the ripe fruit when heâ€TMs in the field. And he certainly has lots of opportunities for munching: He and the occasional helper harvest all the apples from 2,000 trees on twenty acres each season.

While Leon is picking—the hillside terrain isnâ€TMt conducive to U-Pick—Edwina and their daughter work the farm shed where they sell apples and cider, which a friend with a still makes for them.

Having grown up in Ohio, Iâ€TMve always thought of apples as a more Northern fruit. However, Leon says the Middle Tennessee corridor is particularly well suited to apple production. The season is longer than up North so apples ripen weeks earlier. Plus, weâ€TMre just orth enough to allow the right “chilling time” for the trees to over-winter, which forces their buds each spring. “Thereâ€TMs just something about this region,” he says. “We produce some fine apples.”

The farm shed is open August through mid-November every day from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Edwina suggests calling first to see what varieties are in season.

Edwinaâ€TMs Apple Cake

“This is about the best cake anybody can make—itâ€TMs really out of this world. If you really want to knock your shoes off, top it with a simple cream cheese icing. That will get your attention!” —Edwina Boyd

1¼ cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2½ cups self-rising flour (any brand)
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
2 tsp. almond extract
3 cups peeled and chopped Granny Smith apples (or any variety)

Preheat oven to 350° Grease bundt (tube) pan.

In a mixing bowl, combine oil, sugar, and eggs. Stir in flour, and then add walnuts and extract. Fold in apples.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for one hour until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Leon and Edwina Boyd
Hurricane Hollow Apple Orchard
4956 Medley Amonette Road
Buffalo Valley, Tennessee 38548
931-858-2445

[add bio from summer issue