1. What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept Cash, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover. We also accept local checks with a valid driver’s license.
2. Why can’t we get a hold of you?
During business hours we do our absolute best to answer the phone and check our Facebook messages. However, due to technology quirks and sometimes we just have our hands full in the kitchen or with customers, we sometimes miss calls. Please keep trying, we want to help. In addition, you may want to listen to our phone message, check Facebook, or the website; your question may be answered by simply doing these things.
3. The playgrounds is full of kids on a weekday. Why?
We host many school groups from mid-September through mid-October during the week from 9am-3pm. You may want to call or message for the best week day to come out, generally there are no school tours on Mondays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
4. Are pets allowed?
Pets are not allowed in any of the buildings, pavilions, or the playground due to health and safety concerns. Clearly marked service animals are the only exception. If you need to bring a pet, they are only allowed in the orchard. They must be leashed and you need to pick up anything solid that they leave behind.
5. May we smoke?
We are a smoke free business. If you are here for an extended length of time and feel you must; we would ask that you take a walk into the orchard and put your ashes into a container, not on the ground. Please do not smoke in the playground, pavilion, or the front porch of the store.
6. May we picnic here?
Yes, if we are not offering lunch, and as long as you don’t bring it into the store.
7. We want to have a birthday party or family gathering at the orchard.
We ask that you set this up ahead of time with our staff. We are a small orchard and a group of people can quickly take over the pavilion or playground leaving little space for other guests. We have an inexpensive private party package and agreement that will give you 2 covered picnic tables for up to 16 people max for 2 hours for $30. Extra space may be added for an additional fee. Please contact us for details and reservations.
8. How long is your season?
Mid July - Mid November
9. What are your farming practices?
We are not 100% organic, however, we have been experimenting and transitioning to an organic regenerative farming model since 2018.
In 2019, Mike started working with an agronomist that believes in plant nutrition for insect control over pesticides. After 4 years of changing our mindset and farming practices, we have gotten to the point where we do not use pesticides. A few timely fungicidal sprays are still required for blemish-free apples, however, in 2023 we are experimenting with a few organic fungicidal sprays. We are continuing to work with experts around the world such as Dr. Mary Cole from Australia to transition the orchard to a sustainable and regenerative orchard. Our goal is to be chemical free by 2024.
The biggest change to our farming practices has been the implementation of the micronutrient blend that Mike’s agronomist mentor developed. It is simply micronutrients that all plants need to grow to their full genetic expression. A weekly feeding of what we now call “Mike’s Mighty Micros” is the core of our farming practices. The micronutrients help our trees to become immune to insects and disease by strengthening them.
*This section applies to the fruit that we grow and that you pick here. Peaches and some apples on the shelves are brought in from other orchards to supplement what we cannot grow enough of; they are generally sprayed in a more conventional manner but still far less than you would find in grocery stores.
10. Do you pasteurize your cider and what preservatives are used?
We flash pasteurize our apple cider, which means it’s heated for 6 seconds and then rapidly cooled down. We also use a very small amount of Sodium Benzoate in our cider to help it keep longer. We have limited quantities of “raw” unpasteurized cider with no preservatives. Please refrigerate all cider when you get home to keep it fresh longer.
11. Is there an admission or parking cost?
No, Parking is free and the playground is free.
12. What can we do?
You are welcome to relax in the playground with your family and walk through the orchard. Please be mindful of you children and keep them with you; we are a country property with a river, pond, poison ivy, etc. During U-Pick season you may purchase a U-pick bag and pick apples with your family. Please see our U-Pick page for more information. Visit us in the store for some yummy cider slushies, fresh apple cider donuts, other homemade baked goodies. You may also want to purchase some fruit, cider, baked goodies, and gifts to enjoy back at home.
13. Do you offer tours?
Tours are available and are conducted on weekdays from 9am - 4pm only. They must be scheduled in advance and the minimum number of attendees is 15. Everyone over the age of 2 is required to pay the tour fee. Please see the tour page for more information.
14. Why can’t we climb the trees?
Fruit trees are very fragile. They are made for holding apples and peaches.
15. Do you have a petting zoo?
No, but we have a few animals that you may pet if they come up to the fence. Only employees/family are allowed in the pens. Our animal family includes: Nash, Trey, George, and Henry the Old English Southdown Babydoll Sheep, several chickens that may peck so please be cautious, and Shiloh our Great Pyrenees.
16. Should I wash my fruit before I eat it?
Like any fruit or vegetable that you get anywhere, you should always wash it or wipe it off before you eat it. Sinks and towels are available in the restrooms.
17. Who lives here?
The original owners, Jim and Linda Bailey, and their oldest daughter’s family, Jennifer and her husband Mike and their youngest son Caleb, currently live in the big red barn house.
From I-70, Take Route 32 N. once you reach Sullivan, continue towards Lovington, approximately four miles. After going through the "S" curve, watch for the blue Tourist Activity sign titled Okaw Valley Orchard, it will direct you to turn left on County Road 1750 N. This road makes two 90 degree turns, be sure to stay on the paved road and continue until you see our sign.
From Decatur, take 121 East through Dalton City. One Quarter mile before Bethany look for Blue Tourist Activity sign titled Okaw Valley Orchard, it will direct you to turn left on County Road 1750 N. East 4 miles until you see our sign.
From I-57, take the Arcola exit 203. Turn west on IL. RT. 133, stay on RT. 133 all the way to Lovington, approx. 18 miles. In Lovington RT.133 "T"s with RT. 32. Take RT. 32 south approx 4 miles, watch for blue tourist activity sign titled Okaw Valley Orchard, it will direct you to turn right on county rd. 1750 N. This road makes two 90 degree turns, be sure to stay on the paved road until you see our sign.