The Orchard

Norman’s Orchard began production in 1958. The orchard was founded by Robert K. and Sara Norman, who purchased the farm in 1947 with a farm house and a Sweitzer-style log bank barn. The farm was part of a Revolutionary War land grant to John Corman, later owned for many years by the Clark family, and was adjacent to the Norman homestead owned by Squire Thomas Norman, Jr. Crawford Run Road was originally known as Normantown Road, and the village along Crawford Run Creek was known as Normantown. (It is now part of Creighton.)

Most of the orchard lies on a westerly and southern slope, which is ideal for a northern orchard, as it receives warm sun in the winter and the prevailing westerly breezes moderate temperatures all year long.

In the beginning, Norman’s Orchard sold all types of fruit, berries and vegetables from a roadside stand. The orchard also sold Christmas trees and firewood in the wintertime.

Jeff and Leslie Norman are the current owners of the orchard. They assumed operation of the orchard in 2012 after Jeff's father, Robert (Ken), passed away. Jeff grew up on the orchard and enjoys all aspects of orchard management. Jeff spent his work career as a chief executive officer in hospitals and is still a partner in a health care consulting firm. Jeff and Leslie add a few varieties of heirloom apples and cherries each year to ensure continued vitality of the available fruit.

In the last few decades the importance of heirloom varieties has grown as consumers desire a greater variety of flavor and freshness in their fruit. We consider it a blessing from God to be able to provide our customers with fresh fruit, apples, pears, grapes, cherries and berries.

Heirloom Fruit

Most of the apples and pears that we grow are considered heirloom, or antique, fruit. These varieties have existed for hundreds of years and have a distinctive look and flavor not found in the fruit generally available in stores. Most heirloom fruit are not bred for durability and appearance, but are bred for flavor. You will not find many of our apples in a store because they have more fragile skin and flesh and thus cannot be stored for long periods. Heirloom apples are best when picked ripe and used fresh, rather than being picked before they are fully ripe, shipped, and held in storage.

Our customers are able to appreciate the subtle and distinctive taste heirloom apples offer. Great-tasting apples have a balance of sweetness and tartness and a distinct aroma. We offer you - pick fruit as well as pre-picked fruit. This allows you to have the freshest, best ripened fruit possible.

 

 

 

Apple Varieties

Apples are listed in the order in which they ripen.

+Wealthy: a favorite heirloom apple that can be used for eating or cooking, Wealthy has crisp, juicy white flesh with some pink veining. Produces a pale pink applesauce that is tart and delicious. Also good for drying and cider. Introduced in Minnesota in the 1860s, it was one of the first apples grown commercially and was one of the top five apples grown in the U.S. by the early 1900s.

+Summer Rambo: discovered in France prior to 1535, this has been popular in the U.S. since colonial times. It is a large apple with a very crisp, yellow-green flesh that is quite tart. It makes great pie, applesauce and apple butter and may also be eaten.

Jonamac: a cross between Jonathan and Macintosh, Jonamac is sweet-tart and is best for eating, pairing well with peanut butter, caramel or cheddar cheese. It does not hold its shape in a pie or crisp, although it can be successfully combined with other varieties. Makes a good sauce.

Gala: crisp and sweet, Galas do not brown easily and thus are good for use in salads, salsa and chutneys, as well as for eating. Use with tarter apples in pies to add desired sweetness. First developed in New Zealand in 1934, its parents are Golden Delicious and Kidd’s Orange Red. It is one of the most popular apples in the world.

*Honeycrisp: first developed in the 1960s in Minnesota, it is noted for its sweet-tart flavor and crisp texture. Honeycrisp is prized for eating, but also makes excellent pies and crisps, sauce and butter. It does well sliced and added to sandwiches and burgers or chopped and added to green or fruit salads.

+Jonathan: parent to Jonamac, Jonared and Jonagold, a child of Esopus Spitzenburg, it was first discovered in Woodstock, NY in 1826. It was one of the most important apples produced commercially in the 1800s. Very juicy and makes good juice or cider. Its sweet-tart flavor and moisture make it a good apple to use in cakes, pies, crisps and bread puddings, as well as for sauce and butter. It stores for a few months.

Empire: crisp and juicy with the sweet and tart flavors of its parents, Red Delicious and Macintosh. Empire is a member of the rose family, as are pears and quince. Keeps well. Excellent for eating, but also can be used for pies and other baking as well as for sauce and apple butter.

+*Cox’s Orange Pippin: a classic English apple, it was discovered in 19th century England. Does well in cider, pies, butter and sauce, as well as for eating fresh. Red spread over underlying yellow gives the apple an orangish color. A grandparent of Gala, it is very juicy. Good for eating, baking, sauce and butter, as well as in hard cider.

+Cortland: developed in 1898 at Cornell University in New York, Cortland is still the twelfth most commonly-produced apple in the U.S. Juicy with a sweet-tart flavor, it is very slow to brown once cut and thus does well in salads, sandwiches and served with cheeses. Good for baking and in sauce and butter, as well as for cider and juice. Does not store well, so should be used shortly after it is picked.

Jonagold: a cross of Jonathan and Golden Delicious, Jonagold is good for all uses: baking, drying, cider, sauce and butter, cut and served with cheese, in sandwiches, and especially eating fresh. Extremely successful in Western Europe: it makes up about 70% of the apples grown in Belgium, one of Europe’s leading producers of apples.

+Red Delicious: another heirloom (1881) whose reputation has been hurt by growers' practice of picking when it looks ripe because it ships better when it is harder. Sweet, crisp and juicy when allowed to ripen on the tree, a good addition to sauce,  pies and soups as well as for eating. One of the most commercially successful apples of the 20th century.

+Golden Delicious: an heirloom apple from 1890, this is not your Golden from the grocery store. Allowed to ripen on the tree, it is sweet, crisp and juicy. It's good for eating, in cider and holds up well in pie. It adds sweetness to replace or reduce the use sugar in pie, crisp or applesauce. Not related to Red Delicious, despite the similarity in name.

+*Grimes Golden: discovered in 1804 in Virginia, this heirloom is juicy and lightly spiced. It is an excellent eating apple, but can also be used for baking, sauce, butter, cider and preserves. It is the parent of the Golden Delicious apple, and was once very popular, but it’s not suited for wide distribution, as it can bruise.

Crispin: developed in Japan in the 1930s, this is also known as Mutsu. Sweet-tart with honey undertones, it is good for both eating and baking, as well as for sauce and butter.

+Northern Spy: very popular in the 1800s, Northern Spy is one of the best apples for pies, but it is equally good for other baking, sauce, butter, chutneys, salads and especially for eating. It is prized for cider making. Unfortunately, it does not keep well, so should be used within a month after picking.

+*King David: discovered in 1893 in Arkansas, King David is a cross between Jonathan and either Esopus Spitzenburg or Winesap.  Crisp and juicy, it is a wonderful eating apple, and also does well in baking, sauce, butter, salads, roasting, and other applications. Keeps well for two or three months.

+Esopus Spitzenburg: discovered in New York in the early 1700s, this is a rich, sweet apple with hints of spice. It can be used for anything from baking to cider, but it is such a delicious eating apple that it seems a waste to use it for any other purpose. It was Thomas Jefferson’s favorite apple; he planted 32 of these trees in the orchard at Monticello.

*Albemarle Pippin: another heirloom from New York in the early 1700s, this is a squat, dull apple that is delicious eaten fresh and can also be used for baking and sauce. It is also known as Newtown Pippin or Yellow Newtown. This apple keeps well for a few months.

+*Myers Royal Limbertwig: dating from the late 1800s to early 1900s, this is a juicy, firm, aromatic apple that is considered one of the best for making cider. It has a rich flavor that makes it also desirable for eating and other uses.

Fuji: developed in Japan in 1939, it is wonderful eaten fresh and makes an amazing dried apple. It is quite sweet and juicy with Asian tropical flavors. It keeps well, and can also be used in baking to add sweetness to pies or applesauce so that you need not add sugar.

+Winesap: crisp,juicy, sweet-tart apple with a spicy wine-like flavor. It most likely dates back to the 18th century, although its parents are unknow. It is the parent of a number of varieties, including Arkansas Black and Stayman Winesap. It is prized for use in pies and cider, but can also be eaten. Unlike most apples, its blossoms are pink, not white. It stores well for several months.

+Stayman Winesap: similar to Winesap, but slightly sweeter. Its parents are Winesap and Stayman apples.

+Roxbury Russet: the oldest known variety native to North America, its roots can be traced to Massachusetts prior to 1635. Although not very attractive due to russetting, it has a sweet taste and does well in cider, baking and for fresh eating.

+*York Imperial: originated near York, Pennsylvania in 1830, York Imperial is lopsided and can appear orangish-red. Stores very well and is good for both eating and cooking. Crisp, juicy, sweet-tart.

+Arkansas Black: an heirloom apple from 1850, it ranges from a russetted dark red to a blackish burgundy in color, with white flesh that turns a creamy yellow-orange in storage. According to Apples of Uncommon Character author Rowan Jacobsen, this is an apple that is picked in October, but best eaten in December to April, as it gets tender and juicy after it is stored for a while. It is excellent for all culinary uses at any time in the fall and winter, and is one of the best apples for storing as it will keep until early spring.

+Rome Beauty: developed in Ohio in 1817, a gorgeous apple that will keep until late winter or early spring. Considered one of the best baking, roasting, and frying apples available, it is a fabulous addition to any pie or crisp, bread, cookies and other uses.

 

+ Heirloom variety

*Limited quantities are available, often are picked clean in a few hours.

Please note: Apples should be stored at 40 – 44 degrees.

Pear Varieties

Bartlett: Long considered one of the choicest canning varieties, Bartlett accounts for approximately 75% of the pear production in the United States and Canada. A favorite for all uses. Ripens in late August.

Buerre Bosc: A large russetted pear with a distinctive long-necked shape, white flesh and a rich, delicious flavor. Good for eating and cooking. Ripens late August to mid-September.

Seckel: A small pear with rich yellowish-brown skin when fully ripe. One of the best quality dessert pears with a spicy, very sweet flavor. Ripens in early- to mid-September.

Anjou: The fruit is light green with a fine texture. The flesh is mild and aromatic. This is the best late-fall pear. Used for eating, canning and preserves, this will keep in cold storage until spring.

Lincoln: Big, red-blushed golden pear that is delicious for eating, cooking and canning. Ripens in late summer.

Comice: Known as the sweetest pear variety, these have been described as mellow and earthy in flavor. Available in September, they are aromatic and succulent. They are round with short necks, thick stems and a soft flesh.

Cherries and Blueberries

Recent studies have outlined the nutritional benefits of cherries and blueberries. They are both known as “super foods,” especially tart cherries, which have a lot of antioxidants, including anthocyanins. These fight free radicals and offer anti-inflammatory and anti-viral benefits; they may also contain anti-cancer benefits. They have been shown to particularly help those with inflammation from osteoarthritis. They also contain significant amounts of melatonin, thus possibly aiding sleep.

Season and Hours

Open mid-June, whenever the cherries ripen, until late October or early November, whenever all of the apples have been sold

Some fruit has limited availability because either the season is very short or demand is high (all cherries and some unusual varieties of apples in particular). Please CHECK FOR AVAILABILITY of fruit before you come by checking the Norman's Orchard Facebook page or by calling 724-224-9491

Cherry season:

Tuesday through Saturday 10am – 6pm
Sunday 12pm – 5pm

Blueberry season:

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 10 am - 3 pm

Apple season:

Wednesday through Saturday 10 am - 6 pm
Sunday 12 pm - 5 pm
Closed Monday and Tuesday

We are pick-your-own during all open hours, as long as there is fruit available for picking.

Follow our Norman's Orchard Facebook page for updates throughout the season.

Ripening Schedule

All dates are approximate and depend upon the weather.

CHECK IN ADVANCE to be sure that we have the fruit you want. Call 724-224-9491, 480-220-8228, Email normansorchard@gmail.com, or Facebook.

June
  • Sweet Cherries, week 2 until the third or fourth week
  • Tart cherries, week 2 or 3 until the third or fourth week
  • Blueberries, week 4 until the third week of July
July
  • Blueberries continue through the third week
  • Wealthy cooking apples, mid to late month
August
  • Grapes, mid August to early September
  • Pears (Bartlett, Bosc, Lincoln, Seckel, Anjou, Comice), mid August through early September
  • Summer Rambo apples, mid August through early September
  • Jonamac apples, late month
September
  • Summer Rambo, Jonamac apples, continued to early September
  • Grapes, continued to early September
  • Pears, continued to mid September
  • Gala and Honeycrisp apples, early to mid month
  • Jonared, Jonathan, Imperial Red Jonathan, Empire, Royal Empire apples, early to mid month
  • Anjou pears, mid-month
  • Cortland and Cox's Orange Pippin apples, mid to late month
  • Jonagold, Red Jonaprince, Double Red Delicious and Red Delicious apples, mid to late month
  • Golden Delicious and Grimes Golden apples, mid to late month
  • Crispin (aka Mutsu) and Northern Spy apples, late September to early October
October
  • Fresh Apple Cider available throughout the month
  • Jonagold, Double Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Crispin and Northern Spy apples continue to early October
  • King David apples, early month
  • Spitzenburg, Albemarle Pippin, Myers Royal Limbertwig apples, early to mid month
  • Giant Winesap, Stayman Winesap, Red Winesap, Roxbury Russett and York Imperial apples, early to mid month
  • Arkansas Black and Rome Beauty apples, mid month
  Norman's Orchard Apple Butter and local honey are available all season.

Location (Map)

2318 Butler Logan Road
Tarentum, PA 15084
Frazer Township

About 20 miles north of Pittsburgh off the Pittsburgh Mills exit (#12A) of Route 28
Northwest on Butler Logan Road for about 2 miles

(Please note: do NOT take Exit 13 from the south, even if your GPS directs you to do so. Take Exit 12A.)

Quantities

You can pick your own fruit directly from the tree or bush or vine, or select from pre-picked fruit.

We sell our beautiful and delicious fruit by the pound, peck (chip), half-bushel and bushel.

We offer a 15% discount on a half-bushel and a 25% discount on a bushel of apples or pears. A peck, or chip basket, of apples weighs approximately 10 pounds. A half-bushel is about 21 pounds of apples, while a bushel weighs about 45 pounds. There are about 28 apples in a peck or ¼ bushel.

Pears are denser fruit: a peck weighs approximately 14 pounds, a half-bushel is about 28 pounds and a bushel about 56 pounds.

Our prices are very competitive with stores and other farm markets. We only accept cash.

It is important to remember that apples come in various forms. Some are sweet, others tart. Some have firm flesh and others soft. Therefore, there is no exact recipe for anything involving apples. With that said, use the following to judge your needs:

It takes about 7 or 8 apples to make a pie, more if the apples are small, for a regular pie pan. For a deep dish pie, 10-12 apples are needed. Keep in mind that apples do lose juice, therefore during baking there will be shrinkage; always mound apples up nicely before putting on your top crust.

Approximately 6 large apples yielding 6 cups of fruit are needed to make 4 servings of applesauce. If you combine sweeter and tarter apples, you will need to add little or no sugar – just a touch of cinnamon.

We also grow 6 different varieties of sweet cherries sold by the pound. We are one of the few orchards in western PA that have tart cherries, delicious for pies and preserves. We have eight varieties of blueberries which are also sold by the pound.

Plan on using approximately 4 cups of tart cherries or blueberries to make a regular pie, and about 5 cups for a deep dish pie. To really enjoy the taste of the fruit, we recommend using less sugar than most recipes call for.

For more information on quantities, as well as directions for canning and freezing fruit and many other tidbits, we suggest you visit pickyourown.org.

The Rhythm of the Orchard

Springtime, of course, is when orchards spring to life with buds forming as the weather warms in March and April.

Spraying of organic oils takes place before blossoms explode. The organic oils used are for both fungus and insect prevention and control.

The fruit trees will all bloom between mid-April and mid-May, with tart cherries the first to bloom, followed by sweet cherries, peaches, pears and all of the apple varieties.

After the blossom petals drop, the fruit starts to form (or “set”) and leaves begin to come out. Over the growing season, a good deal of time is spent mowing the orchard grass, monitoring and treating insect and fungus infestations with various means.

Tart and sweet cherries and peaches ripen in the early part of the summer, during June and July. Blueberries and grapes ripen in mid- to late-summer, from late June to late August. Pears ripen in late August to September, and apples begin to ripen in late August and continue through October.

At the end of the harvest, we spray organic oil on the trees and nitrogen under the trees to prevent overwintering insects and fungi.

Late fall and winter are the times when most major pruning of the trees and bushes takes place. It is important to prune trees every year to promote vigorous growth of fruit-bearing wood.

"And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God...." Colossians 1:10

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