‘Cider Fest’ set for Saturday

Timberlake Orchard in rural Fairmont will holds its first Cider Fest on Saturday.

Timberlake Orchard, located at 176 200th Ave. in rural Fairmont, will host its first Cider Fest on Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Timberlake has been open since 1989. It is currently owed by Al and Josh Zeitz and Brian Kudlo, who purchased it from the previous owners about four seasons ago.

The orchard has been expanding its offerings under the new ownership. Several years ago, a full kitchen was put in, so Timberlake has been producing its own homemade baked goods. A new building was put up last year, and this season Timberlake will have its own restroom for guests to use.

Saturday’s event will be the first of its kind at Timberlake.

“We just don’t feel like there’s a whole lot of events in the area like this,” Josh Zeitz said. “Our biggest reason is to draw people out here and make them aware that we’re here and what we all have.”

There will be free pork burgers from the Martin County Pork Producers, with Hy-Vee donating buns and pop. Other food items such as hot dogs and kettle corn will be available as well.

There also will be arts and craft vendors set up for the day.

“Our store will be open and we’ll have baked goods, cider donuts, turnovers and pies,” Zeitz said.

Timberlake is a part of Minnesota Grown so its store offers items from all over Minnesota. It is filled with home decor items; food, including dips and soup mixes; and speciality coffees. Zeitz said this year they brought in a few new products to try.

“We’ll have sweet cider that we make ourselves,” he said.

The new building that Timberlake started construction on last season is a cider-pressing room.

“It was finished enough to do a pressing for the sweet cider,” Zeitz said. “We just don’t have it set up for hard cider yet.”

Green Mill will come out for Saturday’s event to offer beer, wine and hard cider.

There will be horseshoe and bean bag tournaments, complete with prizes, going on throughout the day. Zeitz said anyone interested can message the orchard on Facebook, call the store or stop out to sign up for the tournaments.

“Toward the end of the day, we’re having a tree-planting ceremony to honor Ted and Eric Luetgers, who used to own the orchard,” Zeitz said.

He explained that Eric and his father, Ted, started planting the orchard along with Ted’s wife, Shirley. Eric and his wife, Sue, were the owners until spring of 2014. While both Eric and Ted have passed away, Sue and Shirley will be there to plant the tree in honor of them.

The new 106.5 Lakes FM, formally KFMC, will be doing a live, remote show for the first half of the event. Then there will be a DJ for the second half of the day.

As for the star of the orchard, Timberlake brought in six new apple varieties this season, bringing its total offering to 23. It also planted cherry, peach and pear trees.

With all of the new offerings, Timberlake thought it made sense to put on an event to showcase them.

“It’s something to do in the fall and get people out to the orchard,” Zeitz said. “We plan to do this annually and just keep making it better every year.”

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