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September 3, 2013 > Orchard preserves a delicious history

Orchard preserves a delicious history

By Jessica Noel Flohr
Photos By Cassandra Broadwin

Does it sometimes seem like the only apples kids consume today are the varieties sold at electronics stores? Perhaps you recall listening, perplexed, as your mother or grandmother said, "This land used to be nothing but orchards!" If you're looking to fit a little more fresh fruit into your family's diet, head over to Hayward this weekend for the Garin Apple Festival.

Hosted by East Bay Regional Park District staff and volunteers, this annual gathering is in its 23rd year and a perfect end to the summer season. The festival recalls days when orchards stretched across the Bay Area and local farms thrived.

Garin Regional Park is tucked away in the Hayward hills, close to the California State University, East Bay campus. From the top of trails at Garin, hikers can view a panorama of the entire San Francisco Bay. Garin is part of a larger park called Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Park that belonged to three sisters, the Meyers sisters, in the early to mid-1900s. After they passed away, the district acquired the land and opened Dry Creek Pioneer Park.

Formerly host to a modest apricot orchard, the apricot trees at Garin unfortunately perished and were replaced with antique apple varieties by a generous apple enthusiast, Emil Linquist. Today, the park maintains nearly 300 apple trees boasting 180 varieties of apples. At the festival, visitors can tickle taste buds and expand their apple experience beyond Granny Smith, Red Delicious, and Fuji.

Volunteers and staff have packed the afternoon with information, educational events, and fun-filled activities. Docent-led tours of the orchard will depart each hour to view the many varieties of apples found at Garin Regional Park. Children can step back in time and participate in off-the-grid entertainment such as sack races, tug-of-war, square dancing, face painting, and "kick the can." Grownups and kids alike can test their skill at pressing cider, churning ice cream, or taste a sampling of the many varieties of apples grown at the orchard.

The festival does not require tickets or reservations, though there is a small fee for parking. Apple lovers can return later in the month to help with the apple harvest at a nominal cost of $5 per bucket. Come celebrate the end of summer and taste a bit of Hayward's historic orchards!

Garin Apple Festival
Saturday, Sept 7
12Noon - 4 p.m.
Garin Regional Park
1320 Garin Ave., Hayward
(510) 544-3220
Free admission
Parking: $5

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