The 41st McIntosh Apple Day is Saturday, October 3, at the Ravalli County Museum. Most of the activities will be on the lawn of the museum at South 3rd and Bedford in Hamilton, which also happens to be where the weekly Farmers Market blooms every Saturday during the summer and fall. Thursday, museum staff and lots of volunteers put together 250 apple pies that will be sold at the event (photos below). The pies will not be frozen this year and there are not as many as in previous years. Buy one, take it home and bake it! The COVID-19 pandemic reduced some of the other Apple Day activities. However, besides the pies, there will be cider, apple chutney and lots and lots of caramel apples for sale.

The kids will have plenty of activities, too, including the chance to be photographed as Johnny Appleseed. Of course, we're pretty sure that Johnny didn't make it to the valley, but he would've if he'd known about the early 1900s "Bitterroot Apple Boom," where up to a million apple trees had been planted in the valley. Of course, a bust almost always follows a boom, and most of those trees were gone by the 1920s. This year's harvest of fruit from the McIntosh apple orchards that do remain will be in plentiful supply Saturday.

The Apple Boom between 1905 and 1920 brought many people to the valley and was one of main reasons for the Lake Como dam and the Big Ditch irrigation system (which still helps farmers and ranchers along the east side of the valley). Orchard companies back in the Boom included Charlos Heights, University Heights, Mountain View Orchards, Summer Dale, and Hamilton Heights Orchards. Sound familiar? Those area names live on. Celebrating that history, the Ravalli County Museum has always had a great day on McIntosh Apple Day. Enjoy!

Adding the apple mixture to the pie shells. (Steve Fullerton, Townsquare Media)
Ya gotta use the original apple corers to start your ingredients mix. (Steve Fullerton, Townsquare Media)