POCATELLO — Jana Herron grew up helping tend to her family’s dozens of apple trees. She recalls afternoons spent going back and forth between bouncing on a trampoline and moving the sprinkler to the next set of trees.
“You can only make so much applesauce,” she joked, adding that she helped press more cider than she could possibly remember.
She also recalls making her fair share of caramel apples.
When a serious injury left her in a hospital and in need of additional income to pay mounting medical bills, she started selling those caramel apples. That was how Woodland Orchards was born.
“It just snowballed, and snowballed, and just kept going. We love what we do, so we’re doing it full-time — and then some,” Herron said. “It’s, kinda, fun how it’s evolved and how it’s come to be.”
While Woodland Orchards was started using apples grown in the Herron family’s orchard, it has grown to the point that she has to supplant her own products by purchasing additional apples from other local growers. And those apples can be purchased in one of more than a dozen permanent flavor options or others that rotate on and off the menu.
As Herron explained, Woodland Orchards hosts annual taste tests where 20 to 25 customer and social media followers are invited to the orchard to taste test new concoctions. The winner of these taste tests find a short-term, often seasonal, home on the menu.
Seeking out judges to taste the latest concoctions from the test kitchen is one of the ways Herron tries to give back to her loyal supporters.
“Our customers are the greatest,” she said. “We wouldn’t be doing this without the people that support us — we are a small family business.”
Some of their most popular flavors, she added, have come from these competitions — Apple Crisp, Blueberry Cheesecake, Lunch Lady Bar, Root Beer Caramel and others.
For our visit, Herron had EastIdahoNews.com sample the Apple Crisp — a Gala apple, covered in caramel then dipped in white chocolate and topped with almond oatmeal.
The combination perfectly mimicked an apple crisp or Dutch apple pie — with the signature crunch of a fresh apple on a stick, of course.
In addition to the array of signature caramel apples, Woodland Orchards offers candies and other treats — like the salted caramel and chocolate-dipped pretzel stick Herron had EastIdahoNews.com try.
The salty-sweet balance is perfect, with the added touch of chewy caramel waiting below the chocolate.
But the treat options go well beyond apples and pretzels.
Woodland Orchards also makes cinnamon gummy bears — which Herron said is a huge seller.
The Woodland Orchard Little Cottage is located at 1580 Yellowstone Avenue, in the Pawn 1 parking lot — across the street from Costco. It is open Saturdays, from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. — or until they sell out.
But Herron takes the Little Cottage to events, both public — like the Pocatello Food Truck Roundup, fairs and events — and private events — like weddings. Herron is also able to fill larger orders sent to her through Facebook — here — or the company website — here.
“Message me, let me know (what you need),” she said. “If we have it, we’ll help you out — we’ll get it ready for you.”
If you would like to make a recommendation for the next destination to be included on East Idaho Eats, email Kalama@EastIdahoNews.com and include “EATS” in the subject line.
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