COCHITI LAKE, N.M. (KRQE) - Lovers of New Mexico apples waited a whole year for this. Dixon's apples of course, tucked away in a rugged northern New Mexico canyon.
"We work hard all year to get to this," Becky Mullane said. "And it's well worth the wait."
This time every year, thousands make the pilgrimage to the secluded mountain orchard hidden beneath towering cliffs on the eastern flank of the Jemez Mountains above Cochiti Lake. They enter with empty wheelbarrows and come out with bushels of sparkling burgundies and champagnes.
"The secret to our success is what's right here in my hand: it's a champagne apple," Mullane said. "It's only raised here. It was a wild tree that granddad had found here in the canyon, and it has been what has made Dixon's apples famous and what people come here for."
Sixty-six years ago New Mexico pioneers Fred and Fay Dixon first opened the doors to this unique orchard. Today, granddaughter Becky and her husband Jim carry on the tradition. And it's strictly a family business.
In a good year, their 60 acres will yield some five million apples adding to a New Mexico agricultural legend.
And if you want one, you will have to come here. They aren't sold anywhere else. And it's a sure bet they'll sell out in just a matter of weeks as they have in seasons past.
"What makes this champagne apple so special is that it's only grown here," Mullane continued. "We own the patents on it, and it's only grown here in this canyon.
"We've always attributed the flavor to the soil, the volcanic ash in the soil, the pure water and a lot of TLC."
Everything is done carefully by hand: the picking, the washing, the sorting and the bagging.
"The crop is bountiful," Mullane said. "It's a full crop, and we will have apples far after opening weekend. It's not necessary to come on opening day."
Doors open at 8 a.m. Thursday. The orchard is located about six miles west of the town of Cochiti Lake on an unpaved road with signs pointing the way.
View Dixon's Apples in a larger map
A touching four-minute video showing the sorrows and outpouring of support for Sandy Hook victim Emilie Parkers family has gone viral.
It is unclear if weather played a roll in a rollover on I-25 north of Albuquerque Friday morning.
The U.S. House has agreed on a national budget and now the bill’s headed to the Senate. What the budget bill’s passage could mean for New Mexico’s oil and natural gas industries.
It seems with every game this season he looks like the best player on the court. Lobos senior forward Cameron Bairstow continues to shine.
Cold temperatures await once again as the Lobos open College Cup play against Notre Dame on Friday.
High school basketball tournaments are plentiful as the holiday season approaches. Thursday the Joe Armijo Classic started at Albuquerque Academy.