Jessica Varvil, Staff Writer
Lattin’s Country Cider Mill and Farm is nestled in rural Olympia just 20 minutes from Saint Martin’s University. The idyllic, family farm features apples trees, a pumpkin patch and a large barn filled with locally farmed produce, canned goods and cider.
From the end of September through October, Lattin’s hosts their annual Applefest and pumpkin patch weekends. Although the farm, store and pumpkin patch are open every week day, these special weekend events have additional games and activities for children as well as booths for local artisans and craftsmen.
Saint Martin’s students searching for fun, fall-themed activities need look no farther than Lattin’s Country Cider Mill and Farm. Lattin’s distinguishes itself from other local fall attractions with its famous apple products and free admission. Though parking is five dollars, and individual products and activities may cost, one can wander through the farm and pumpkin patch at no charge.
The farm smells of sweet apples, and its many animals frolic and bleat in their pens. A few unwary children quickly learn that goats really will eat anything, including paper bags with the sweet residue of freshly made apple fritters still clinging to them.
People of all ages mill about while eating the various apple themed foods and drinks — apple crisps, caramel apples, apple pie, hot and cold cider, berry cider, cider donuts, apple cake and the aforementioned apple fritters.
Laura Brannon, owner of “Gaia Blends” and vendor at Applefest, sells handcrafted soaps, organic skin salves, and pure beeswax candles. Originally from Ohio, Brannon began making her organic salve 12 years ago as a stay-at-home-mother. After selling her salve at a farmer’s market, she altered the formula to create a lip balm and a stick applicator.
According to Brannon, the beeswax in her salve acts as an anti-inflammatory to calm skin problems like psoriasis. From there she started trading her beeswax with another farm for their goat milk to begin making organic soap.
When the business grew, her husband left his day job and the family moved out west. They ended up settling in Ocean Shores “because they ran out of road” Brannon says. Lattin’s Applefest has given them an opportunity to grow their exposure and customer base during the popular fall weekends.
An artist from Konnex, a Washington and Wisconsin based party company that focuses on art and creativity, occupied another booth at the first weekend of Applefest. Catering events ranging from informal get-togethers with friends to bridal showers and family reunions, Konnex creates a relaxing environment for participants to paint and release their creative juices.
Not far from the vendors and baked goods, Lattin’s features a large pumpkin patch. A trailer routinely tows a wagon full of awed children and families through the quaint field. Though there are plenty of traditional orange pumpkins, the patch also features white or “ghost” pumpkins, as well as dark orange and grey-green varieties.
Whether you are looking for fall ambiance, the perfect pumpkin or fresh made treats, Lattin’s Cider Mill and Farm’s Applefest and pumpkin patch gathers everything good about Autumn into a small farm less than a half an hour from Saint Martin’s campus.