COCHITI LAKE, N.M. (KRQE) - Tucked away in a rugged northern New Mexico canyon is anorchard, but not just any orchard. Welcome to Dixon's.
"This crop is huge, and it's better than we've had in years,"orchard owner Becky Mullane told KRQE News 13. "The apples are justbeautiful this year."
Dixon's Apples started out as a familybusiness 60 years ago by pioneer Fred Dixon. Today the orchard inthe Jemez Mountain foothills west of Cochiti Lake is still verymuch a family business.
Fred's granddaughter Becky and her husband Jim now run thisplace. Like clockwork, you can always tell when fall hasarrived.
When the golden globes are just right, crisp and juicy, they areplucked from the trees, washed, sorted, bagged and set out in theapple shed ready to be carted away by apple lovers all over thestate.
What often resembles a stamped begins at 8 a.m. Friday.
"We're going to be opening with the Champagne and with the reddelicious," Mullane said. "The Champagne is not grown anywhereelse, so that is special to this canyon."
Dixon's also offers plenty of other varieties: the sparklingburgundy and the red Rome.
Mullane called this year's apple crop is one of the best inrecent memory. Unlike last year, when a short crop sold out thefirst weekend, she said she expects to have plenty of applesavailable for several weeks.
Then there's Dixon's famous apple cider. The recipe is simple:take a mountain of Dixon apples, chop them up, squeeze the juiceand bottle it up. No preservatives, no chemicals, just apples.
As the Mullanes prepared for opening day, this year's harvestwas be bittersweet. Fred Dixon, Becky's grandfather, passed away inJune at the age of 89.
“He left us with a legacy, and we are so grateful forthat," Mullane said. "It's good, it's all good because look at whenhe left us with. Look at this crop; it's incredible."
The secret to success between the towering canyon walls, but isit the hard work, the water, or as others think, something in thesoil.
"Like granddad always said, a lot of TLC," Mullane said. "Thesetrees, just taking care of these trees.
"He always said be good to the canyon and the canyon will takecare of you. I think that's the best advice he gave us."
Dixon's apples are not sold in stores and are only available atthe orchard about six miles west of Cochiti Lake. Daily sales hoursare 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
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