Boy picking apple at TCFD

The evenings are getting cooler, the leaves are starting to turn the various shades of fall in the Catskills, and the campuses of The Center for Discovery® are basking in the crimson joy of the annual apple harvest!

Brighter than the season’s colors are the smiles of our residents, students, and staff who are busy picking the latest apple crop – truly a favorite time of year at TCFD! At least 1,000 pounds of organic and biodynamic apples – grown right here at The Center – are being harvested each day. By the end of the season, it is estimated that the students, residents, and staff will have picked, sorted, washed, and packed a whopping 40,000 pounds of apples! Fun fact: The Center has three orchards with an estimated total of 1,500 trees, which also include 3 kinds of European pears, 3 varieties of Asian pears, and more than 100 peach trees.

Back to the apples. There are 22 kinds on The Center’s trees, and TCFD Orchardist, Christine Willeford, says the Macoun and Fuji trees have had a really great growing season. The apples are picture-perfect and very flavorful. According to Willeford, the Gala and Idareds are also fruitful this year.

At the core of The Center for Discovery®’s DNA (Department of Nourishment Arts) mission is the Seed to Belly philosophy: sprouting in organic soil from seed, to fruit and vegetable, harvested by hand, and prepared with love and care into a whole-foods based diet. And apples are a healthy part of that diet – supporting a healthy digestive system, while providing a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants. For a wonderful Apple Coleslaw recipe from our DNA team, reference the recipe below – ’tis the season!

Stop into the Hurleyville Market, located at 238 Main Street in Hurleyville, where TCFD’s fresh, organic produce and eggs are always available. Yes, you can find the apples there, too!

For more information about the Department of Nourishment Arts (DNA) or the Thanksgiving Farm, please contact Richard Humleker, Vice President for Development, at

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Apple Cole Slaw.scaled