Bright green apple trees dotted with rich, red fruit envelop the area behind the Thomas E. Ricks Building. The historic Apple Orchard Museum is truly one of BYU-Idaho’s hidden gems.
According to the BYU-I Horticulture Research website, the orchard was planted in 1980 and is home to over 150 fruit trees and other fruit-bearing plants, including raspberries and strawberries. It is maintained by students and faculty in the Department of Applied Plant Science.
There are over 100 kinds of apples at the orchard, but all are 50 cents a pound. Visitors can go to the orchard anytime from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
It is a self-serve and self-pay service. Students and members of the community can pick up sacks for carrying the apples and use a QR code to pay in the apple shed, which is located near the entrance of the orchard.
The apple-picking season starts around mid-August and generally continues until mid-October when temperatures start to drop.
Students, faculty and members of the community are invited to visit the orchard and experience apple picking themselves. Apples aren’t the only thing drawing people to the orchard, though.
“We do encourage people to come up here and just walk around,” said Mitzi Pruitt, office assistant in the Department of Applied Plant Science. “There is a sense of peace. For me, the apple orchard is a sense of peace, tranquility, and history.”
Pruitt said many students don’t know about the orchard, apart from horticulture majors.
“I did not know there was an orchard on campus,” said David Jensen, a senior studying business management. “I would have liked to have known about it. I always like picking my own fruit or buying local produce.”
Other students have been coming to the orchard for a long time.
“I grew up in Rexburg, so I’ve been coming here for years,” said Emma Williams, a junior studying psychology. “One of my earliest memories in Rexburg is from here.”
BYU-I students can explore the gardens all year long, even when apples aren’t in season. They can use the space to enjoy the scenery and meditate.
“It’s a wonderful place to learn and grow,” Pruitt said.