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It’s apple season
Cover's apple
Cover’s Apple Ranch in Tuolumne has been growing and selling apples for over two decades. Today, visitors can see where the apples are grown and enjoy pies and other treats.

Friday was officially National Apple Day, which falls in the midst of peak season for Northern California’s apple farmers.

Many of the apple trees at Cover’s Apple Ranch in Tuolumne were planted close to a hundred years ago. Every fall, it offers a selection of Arkansas Black, Common Red Delicious, Early Blaze, Golden Delicious, Winesap, Red and Yellow Bartlett, Winter Nellis. They also grow Bosc Pears.

Over the years the ranch passed from one owner to the next. Louis and Evelyn Sonka purchased the property in 1971 and they had the idea to bake apple pies and sell them at the site, along with fresh pressed cider. Their enterprise proved so popular that it continued to be called Sonka’s even after they had sold it. 

In 1998, the property was once again up for sale and was being considered by a group of developers.

Having grown up next door to the property, the Cover family - Joe and Carol Cover, along with their six sons, purchased Sonka’s Apple Ranch. Joe is the younger brother of former owner Rudy Cover and once again the property became known as Cover’s Apple Ranch.

The site, in addition to the production facility where apples are peeled and pressed, has a restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch, a bakery, a gift shop, a mini train that traverses the property, a barnyard petting area, a duck pond and serene grounds to relax for the day.

“It’s a calm spot to come and visit,” Cover said.

While visitors may enjoy the attractions, the real stars of the ranch are the apples and what is made of them. This includes pies, turnovers, dumplings, cider, butter, sauces and lots more delectable treats, including seasonal offerings using other fruits.

“Everything is made here and it’s all made from scratch,” Cover said. 

Some of the most popular options are the Dutch Apple Pie and the Mile High Apple Pie.

“We stack up the apples in that one,” Cover said. 

They sell apple pies year-round and fall is their busiest season. Those wanting to purchase specific pies, especially for Thanksgiving, are advised to place orders a week in advance before going to the ranch.

Cover’s Apple Ranch is located at 19211 Cherokee Road in Tuolumne. They are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and closed Sunday and Monday. For orders or more information call (209) 928-4689 or visit their website at