El Dorado Orchards

2888 North Canyon Road
Camino, CA 95709

530-621-2053

In 1960 the region encompassing and surrounding El Dorado Orchards, now referred to as Apple Hill, was a collection of farms and ranches whose primarily crop was pears, accounting for the majority of each family's income. This section of El Dorado County was gaining nation wide attention for producing juicy, distinct, and delicious tasting fruit. As this reputation for producing quality fruit increased, came a disastrous situation.

"Pear decline," a disease that spread as quickly as the wind, came to El Dorado County and completely obliterated the orchards, leaving the farmers with virtually no crops. A pear tree that was healthy in Spring, was deceased by Fall. This was a complete and utter disaster for local farmers, who were left with the tough question, how would each farmer provide for their family?

Farmers can be extremely stubborn, but for the sake of the area and traditions of their ancestors, banded together and came to a collective answer; they would join forces and attempt to attract guests to the area by switching to apple crops. Each farm had a few apple trees, and the wives of the farmers were tremendous bakers. They also realized that no one, absolutely no one, could resist the deliciousness of apple pie. How would this collection of family farms attract good people to the area to sample their fruit and baked goods?

They all agreed on having an event called, "Apple Smorgy Days," consisting of a smorgasbord of apple desserts made by each family's respective farm. This event was to be held at El Dorado Orchards, largely because it was the only farm that had flat land! The farmers used overturned apple bins with sheets of plywood across them to create serving tables. Radio stations were called and local newspapers were notified, but the big question remained, would anybody come?

Yes! The event was a hit! The ranches cooked up delicious apple treats and baked goods, and guests from all over flocked to El Dorado Orchards to indulge in apple desserts. Shortly after the success of the "Apple Smorgy Days," the local farmers collectively banded together to start marketing the area as Apple Hill!

The "Apple Smorgy Days" were held here at El Dorado Orchards until 1972, because by this time, much to the success of the event, other ranch locations were able to set up bake shops and picnic areas elsewhere on the hill to welcome guests!

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