Families kick-off fall with a visit to Tanner's orchard

By Alyssa Donovan

September 15, 2013 Updated Sep 15, 2013 at 10:25 PM CDT

SPEER, Ill.-- More than 55 million tons of apples are grown worldwide each year and this year in the Heart of Illinois, they are ripe for the pickin'.

It was a rainy Sunday at Tanner's Orchard but business was still booming.

Co-owner Jennifer Beaver says families come out as a tradition and a little rain will not stop them.

Beaver said, "We have families that come every year that make the annual trip here."

Like Jolyn Bumphry from Washington and her 3 kids.
Bumphry says it's not fall without a trip to Tanner's Orchard.

Bumphry said, "They still all wanted to come. we come every year. It's tradition. Since they were about a week old.It's just something we look forward to and do every year together.They ask still even though they are teenagers they still love it."

Bumphry's son Evan said, "Every year I kind of look forward to it, drinking the apple cider and the caramel apples."

With the rainy weather many people stuck to the market buying up the famous apple cider doughnuts, caramel apples, jellies and jams.

But David Kemper from Mackinaw and his family were determined to get out in the orchard rain or shine.

Kemper said, "Pick some apples get some pumpkins. Some of the kids haven't been here so we wanted them to enjoy the experience too even thought it's raining."

There are more than 75-hundred varieties of apples but Tanner's has narrowed it down a bit.

Beaver said, "We have about 7 or 8 different varieties right now. And as the season goes on we'll have some different ones. We'll sell out of some and have new ones come in. Each variety comes ripe at a different time."

Right now in the fields you could find honeycrisp, which are the most popular at Tanner's, and gaelic. Granny smith apples ripen toward the end of the season.

The 80 acres has a lot more to offer than just apple picking like pony rides, the back 40 fun acres for little kids, go-karts and billy goats.

Beaver said, "It's a fun activity to do with your family. You get outside and you get to enjoy the fall air when it's nice and cool."