The arrival of autumn in Goshen brings the perfect weather for a multitude of fall festivities. Kercher’s Sunrise Orchards, a well-known Goshen spot for fall fun, is a great place to head once there’s a chill in the breeze — and the drive to the orchard is only five minutes from Goshen College’s campus. 

This year, Kercher’s is celebrating their 100th anniversary. William Wheeler Kercher purchased 40 acres of land in 1922. Since then, five generations of Kerchers have seen the business that the orchard has brought in, while the sixth toddles through when they visit.

A group of GC students visited the market and orchard after Tuesday’s classes. The market was full of customers; some were only interested in pumpkins, some in apples, and some were just there to see what they could find. 

“I had never been to Kercher’s before; I was just driving by,” said Duane Householder, a Goshen community member. “My first impression is [that] they have quite the variety of products and they all seem to be really great quality.”

Wandering through the orchard, Luisa Dutchersmith, a sophomore __ major, said, “I’ve been here so many times growing up, but I don’t think I’ve ever even picked apples.” During the group’s visit, the apples harvested were of the Golden Delicious and Fuji varieties.

As the group continued, it became clear that everyone present would not be tall enough to reach the apples in the trees. Some tried hopping onto the backs of others, but the tactic was simply too slow. 

Jadyn Good Kaufmann, a junior nursing major, saw this challenge and rose to the occasion. After finding the perfect stick to reach the top of the trees, the new “Apple Whacker” became the ideal tool for efficient harvesting. 

“I love apples right off the tree,” said Amelia Witmer-Rich, a sophomore biochemistry major. “The crunch is incomparable.” 

“The apples may not be golden,” said Caleb Shenk, a junior accounting major, “but they sure are delicious!” 

With new apples in hand, Tyson Miller, a sophomore communication major, found the perfect opportunity to get some practice throws in for the Goshen College “fruit vent” (an air vent on the side of the Science Building that GC students often attempt to toss fruit into). 

Once everyone had acquired the apples, the group headed toward the corn maze. Within minutes, people were split up and turned in the wrong direction. 

“Uh, I think we go this way!” Seth Smith Kauffman, a sophomore communication major, exclaimed as he wandered farther and farther from the maze’s exit. 

After some retracing of steps, the crew made it out altogether.

On the way back to the market, the group stopped at the pumpkin patch, but soon had to continue onward to dodge the rain. It seemed impossible to leave without buying any treats. 

“I know these whoopie pies are going to be a good investment,” said Witmer-Rich said with a grin.