Tucked away in the golden mountains of Watsonville, California, Nita Gizdich and her family understand the sweet importance of an apple. This 4th-generation, family owned and operated ranch is the “core” of apple country in Watsonville, boasting 30 acres of apple trees and 20 acres of plump Olallie berries. With a big red barn in the center of the ranch, the Gizdich family works round the clock, pressing apples for their Award Winning apple juice, or turning golden delicious apples into a bubbling pie.
For the Gizdich Ranch, it’s all about keeping to traditional values – working hard, taking pride in what they do, and listening to the needs of the locals. Since 1930, the Gizdich family has been providing their community with fresh, top quality produce through their “Pik-Yor-Self” farm, Pie Shop, and Juice Room.
Every Saturday workers make their way into the Apple Juice Room, where they select the perfect apples for their apple juice recipe. The apples are then dumped into a mill where they’re broken down and slowly pressed with a 300 pound weight.
When asked if the workers ever add anything to their apple juice, matriarch Nita Gizdich laughs, “Why would you ever add anything? We never add anything extra to the juice. It’s all natural. It’s beautiful and tastes delicious.”
Nita is right, the juice is sweet and tart, a bushel of apples in a glass. No spices or sweeteners are needed. Just good old-fashioned apples.
This same natural approach is taken with the Gizdich Ranch pies. In the early morning, the cozy scent of butter and sugar wafts through the orchard, as an army of bakers core, peel, and bake hundreds of flaky pies. Located inside a big red barn, the Pie Shop receives much of the attention at the ranch. Locals line up out the door, anxiously awaiting a slice of pie a la mode. Long wooden tables are set up inside, giving onlookers a sneak peak into the workings of the Gizdich Ranch while they tuck into a slice of boysenberry, apple, or olallie berry pie.
Open year round, the Pie Shop is a favorite during the holidays. Residents from Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and San Benita Countries call in orders for their holiday pies. 3,000 special order pies are baked and prepped for pick-up, in addition to pies that are sent out daily to over 134 stores and restaurants from San Francisco, Santa Clara Valley, and Santa Cruz.
On my recent trip to California with World Wide Country Tours, I was able to enjoy a slice of apple pie at the Gizdich Ranch. The crust was perfectly golden, flaky, and buttery. Made with golden delicious apples, I was surprised by the sweetness. Flecks of cinnamon could be tasted throughout the pie, making it the ideal treat for fall.
No one knows apples better than Gizdich Ranch, that’s for certain. Now if only they’d deliver their seasonal, apple favorites to Milwaukee.
55 Peckham Road
Watsonvilla, CA 95706
Are you craving some homemade apple pie but can’t get to the Gizdich Ranch? Try one of my favorite apple pie recipes:
Get this recipe: Delightful Apple Pie
Get this recipe: Apple Praline Pie
Get this recipe: Crumb-Topped Apple & Pumpkin Pie
You Might Also Like