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What's New at the Apple Farm

Welcome to the Apple Farm Blog! We are excited to bring you information from our property including announcements, tips, recipes, event information and more! Read on!

10/25/17: Fall is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…Or is it?

By Rachael Halstead, Rooms Manager

Ahhhh fall, for us on the central coast, when Mother Nature loves to keep us on our toes! She will bring triple digits in late October, followed by hot winds, and then she will leave us with chilly nights. As locals we know the value of dressing in layers! While the change in season is usually welcomed, here at the Apple Farm it can drive us a bit crazy. In case you are unaware, we are known for our pristine gardens and impeccable landscape. I have overheard guests and locals say that we remind them of Disneyland! We will take that comparison any day! But back to the point, fall, we love you and we hate you.

We love the cozy nights you bring. We love when guests can take advantage of the fireplaces in our rooms and enjoy a book in a cozy wingback chair or sofa. We love the fun décor that Sharon (Apple Farm Buyer) and her team adorn our hallways and gift shop with! We love that you can smell the pies baking from our scratch bakery basically anywhere on property! We could, however, do without the leaves.  Leaves? Yes, leaves! The bane of our General Manager‘s (Dean Hutton) existence. While Joseph O’Keefe (Landscape Manager/ plant whisperer) battles the leaves daily, every night they reappear! For most of our managers, there is nothing better than a freshly cleaned parking lot! Ready for you and our guests’ admiration and picture taking! But every night, the trees have their way dropping endless leaves all over our innocent parking lot! Oh the horror! Any Type A personalities out there? You get it?!? Right?! Like I said, we love those leaves, green and lush, almost year round! But come fall, they become as unwelcomed, as your in-laws when they turn a 3 day visit into a 5 day visit! But, it is the price we pay. It is hard to be ungrateful living here on the coast, but leaves, leaves will always drive us a little crazy during fall here at the Apple Farm!


 

10/13/17: Ask about it - Reservation Tips

By Lyne Hamel, Reservations Supervisor

"Apple Farm reservations. How may I assist you?" This is the starting place for your weekend getaway, wedding block, work stay, or perhaps a family vacation, or traveling through and need a place to rest your head for a night. How can we help you have the best reservation experience and lock in those plans for your accommodations? Have I got some tips for you.

  1. Give the us the dates you are interested in coming to the Apple Farm right at the beginning of our conversation. All reservations start with the date of arrival and how many nights you're staying.
  2. Next we look at rates. Is there a special running for the nights you're staying listed on this website? Ask about it by name so we can look for that special right away. Be aware that most of our specials run Sunday through Thursday. Our accommodations page also lists the dates that these specials are not available. They are called black out dates.
  3. Bringing along a friend and sharing a room? We have King Specialty rooms in the Inn and King rooms in our Trellis court with sofa sleepers. We can have the sofa sleeper made up prior to your arrival.
  4. New baby in the family? You could transfer the baby from car to crib. We have them and can have one set up in the room when you arrive.
  5. Tell us about your special event. Are you coming to celebrate a special event like an anniversary, honeymoon, birthday, etc? We have flowers, gift baskets, wine, champagne or cider set ups available for delivery to your room at arrival. We can arrange this at the time we take your reservation.
  6. Will you be eating at our restaurant? Holidays and weekends can be busy at the Farm to Table Apple Farm restaurant. We want to make sure there's a table for you when you want it so we can make the reservation for you or transfer you to the restaurant. Just ask.

Check out this website...click around, and get to know what we offer, then call the reservation line and we'll help you help us make it a wonderful stay with all your needs met at the end of the call. We're looking forward to that call to reserve your getaway accommodations.


 

9/20/17: Wine Country Connections

By Kim Wykoff, Guest Services Director

Have you ever had the pleasure of attending a winemaker dinner? Being a wine country Inn, we felt it was important to support the wine industry and begin a program that involves partnering with our local vintners and tasting rooms. After all, when you come to visit wine country, where are you going to overnight? Well, Apple Farm, of course! From this concept, our Winery of the Month program was born.

This program is now over 5 years old and has become a favorite of our guests. We choose a local winery every month and do some special things to showcase that winery. Have you attended our wine reception when you have been a guest? In addition to serving our own private label wines and complimentary appetizers, we also offer tastings from our Winery of the Month. There are generally two varietals served daily and the winery usually offers complimentary tasting at the tasting room while you are a registered guest.

The best part of this program is the Winemaker Dinner, which is usually the last Friday of the month with a few exceptions. This is usually a five course meal with paired wines for each course. I have been to a few of these and have yet to be disappointed. Our Executive Chef, Steven Smeets meets with the winemaker and tastes all of the wines and builds his menu from there. Talk about a man who loves his job!

Come to a Winemaker Dinner! This month we are featuring Tackitt Vineyards with the dinner being on September 29th and in October, we will be featuring Calcareous Winery with the dinner on Saturday, October 28th  (one of those rate “not on Friday night” dinners). Come enjoy our outside heated patio, the flowers, wonderful wines and a sensational five course meal! I promise, you will not be disappointed! Cheers!


 

9/5/17: What is Hospitality?

By Rachael Halstead, Rooms Manager

With so much negativity going on in our world it is so easy to get wrapped up and feel down. You overhear conversations and people saying “service isn’t what it used to be” or "people just don’t care anymore." I find myself saying this occasionally, when I am out shopping and get the privilege of being “assisted” by a less than thrilled to be there employee. It really doesn’t feel good.

Now, I happen to live in the happiest place in North America. (Look it up!) I think this is why people choose to stay here, despite the outrageous cost of living. It’s about the quality of life on the Central Coast! This brings me to hospitality. The word is Latin and roughly translated to mean hospital. What do hospitals do? They take care of people! That, my dears, is exactly why I am in hospitality. I love people, but more to the point, I love to take care of them. That is what hospitality is to me. That is also what drew me to apply for a position at this hotel. I had no prior hotel/travel experience. But, I knew I was good with people. In fact, I thrived around them! I enjoy learning everyone’s story and anticipating their needs before they even ask.

So, in today’s somewhat negative climate, it is no surprise that we (hoteliers) have seen an uptick with stressed guests, complaints, and general unhappiness. So, how do we still give stellar service and greet every customer as we did on our first day on the job? For me, it’s empathy. Every guest that steps through the front door has just battled traffic for hours or waited in lines at the airport. They are in town for a funeral or saved their pennies for two years to afford this long overdue family vacation. Whatever the reason, we are here to serve you. It will be different every time. It will be sincere and thoughtful. That is what hospitality is to me. What is hospitality to you? Share with us on Facebook or send me an email at [email protected]


 

8/28/17: Not just Meat and Potatoes

By Michael Langlois, Food & Beverage Director

When one thinks of Apple Farm you think comfort foods such as Classic Pot Roast with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Chicken and Biscuits, Beef Stroganoff, or Turkey Pot Pie. All these are dear to my heart and just simply scrumptious and put a smile on my face. Then, to top it off we have the best scratch made desserts on the Central Coast like our seasonal bread puddings, pies, cobblers and one of my favorites, Willie’s Carrot Cake created by our Executive Pastry Chef Willie Vey. It just does not get any better!

But today I am not writing this to tell you about all that comfort food deliciousness. I am here to tell you Apple Farm is focused on providing beautifully thought out vegetarian dishes created by our cool Chef Steven Smeets and offered to you on our menus. With the abundance of local farms and produce around, Chef utilizes what he has available and creates vegetarian menu items that are super yummy and as comforting as the smell of chocolate chip cookies coming out of the oven on a beautiful summer afternoon.

Chef understands that vegetables and a vegetarian diet are definitely a way of life for many. They are healthy, nutritious and certainly not boring if prepared with thought and care. The following are vegetarian dishes that are currently on our menu:  Lemon Ricotta Raviolis, Beet and Goat Cheese Fritter Salad, Potato Pancakes with our own chunky apple sauce (pictured right top), Fried Green beans with house aioli, the heirloom tomato, caper, cucumber pesto Bruschetta, and my favorite our Vegetable Goat Cheese Lasagna (pictured right bottom) made with peppers, onion, squash, mushrooms, pesto, ricotta, parmesan and goat cheese. Simply put, it is lasagnalicious

So, today I am here to say that not only does Apple Farm dish up all the comfort foods that we all grew up knowing and loving, but we can also dish up some of the best vegetarian meals in SLO County.  We also do our best to work with any dietary restrictions and food allergies that our guests may have. Chef definitely has a knack in creating wonderful vegan dishes as well.  So, when in the land of fresh vegetables…let there be vegetables.  The Apple Farm is there for you for all seasons. Oh and before I forget, don’t forget to try one of our gluten free cookies or brownies at our bakery. Enjoy!

 

8/23/17: Autumn in the Gift Shop

By Sharon Peters, Retail Manager & Buyer

When I reached over and turned the page on my calendar - August greeted me with surprise! August? Already? The seasons are marching on and as exciting as it was to welcome June and July - the time has come to say goodbye to red, white and blue; sand, surf and sunshine and embrace the inspiring colors of FALL.

The Apple Farm Gift Shop celebrates each turn of the calendar page - each color of the season. We take delight in creating new emotion as the shades of each month change. There is something about the colors of fall, though, we hold most dear at Apple Farm. It is clearly the favorite season among our design team. Fall has THAT feeling...longing again for "sweater weather" - comfort, cozy, HOME. We look forward to the shades of red, yellow, purple, orange, and brown that decorate the foliage as well as our porches and kitchen tables. 

The design team at the Apple Farm found the need to rush and make that visual change - allowing YOUR heart to take pleasure in THAT feeling. As the gift shop decor takes on the warm colors of a changing season we invite you to experience the splendid merchandising and creative design that brings excitement to every table, cupboard and hutch on our gift shop floor. Pumpkins, tableware, linens and decorative wreaths are just a few pieces of our seasonal collection. 

Turn that page and mark your calendar! Autumn is here inside our hearts at the Apple Farm Gift Shop. 


 

8/15/17: The Apple Farm Family

By Kim Wykoff, Guest Services Director

If you are a fan of the Apple Farm, it likely has something to do with not only the beauty of the property, but the way you feel when you are here. We get many comments from our guests about the great staff we have here and how they were made to feel so comfortable while visiting. I believe there is a much stronger force at work here.

Apple Farm has a rather large management team here and most all of them have worked here a very long time. We have watched our families grow over the years. We have had babies born, weddings of our children and the death or illness of our family members. What a powerful bond this makes. We have laughed and cried, screamed and yelled, and most of all, we have been able to solve and celebrate our triumphs and disappointments. This is how a family behaves.

That commitment to our lives and jobs and the business of hospitality has made us well versed in the ability to stand together and solve the problems and celebrate the best our guests can experience. This is why our business is so successful. That success comes from a plethora of happy Apple Farm guests. Even when we don’t get it right, this family mentality gives us the resources to make it right. We pride ourselves on that. Here is a list of the management team and their years of the service devoted to Apple Farm’s success!

Dean Hutton

General Manager

28 years of service

Janis Triplett

Assistant to the General Manager

27 years of service

Michael Langlois

Food & Beverage Director

21 years of service

Kim Wykoff

Guest Services Director

27 years of service

Rachael Halstead

Rooms Manager

9 years of service

Christen Goldie

Revenue & Marketing Director

15 years of service

Joseph O’Keefe

Landscape Manager

28 years of service

Sharon Peters

Retail Manager & Buyer

21 years of service

James Leigh

Director of Sales

7 years of service

Karen Roots

Controller

14 years of service

Sergio Bernal

Maintenance Manager

13 years of service

Lauren Somppi

Warehouse Manager

5 years of service

Steven Smeets

Executive Chef

4 years of service

Stephen Walls

Restaurant Operations Manager

26 years of service

Joanna patch

Restaurant Operations Manager

18 years of service

John Scholz

Restaurant Operations Manager

11 years of service

Willie Vey

Executive Pastry Chef

16 years of service

This is a grand total of 290 years! I hope this list of experience helps you feel valued and cared for when you are visiting Apple Farm. Come see us soon! Our family is missing your family!


 

8/9/17: 4 Tips on How to Pick the Best Hotel Room at the Apple Farm

By Rachael Halstead, Rooms Manager

Apple Farm is such a unique property, that it is hard to describe its beauty over the phone or online. Time and time again I hear “Wow this is way better than we expected!” This is why I thought I would give you the inside scoop to help you pick your ideal room! While this may be my first attempt at a blog, I am veteran status when picking out rooms for our guests!

It’s no secret that Apple Farm gets compared to that other famous hotel in town. While we have no problem with this comparison, it isn’t exactly true. Are our rooms unique? Yes. Is each of them different? Absolutely! Back in the days our rooms were abundantly floral and oozing with knickknacks. These days, we are updating our rooms to appeal to everyone! Including our Frequent Farmers (a term used for our loyal guests, you know the ones who have been with us since day one). Regardless of whether you have been staying here for 25 years or this is your first time, here are some tips from me to you!

  1. Inn or Trellis Court? Yes we all know the rooms are different in size and location, but did you know we have 12 different room types? Anything from single queens with patios and private soaking hot tubs, to family suites that can accommodate up to 6 people! Your reservation agent will walk you through all the options and find a room perfect for your needs!
  2. You’ve decided on the Inn? Great! If you read the reviews you will see a common theme, they will tell you ask for third floor, creek side. But take it from me, an expert; you are missing out on the best floor, the first floor! This floor has some amazing room options I love room 107, it is tucked away in the corner, and has the most amazing view of our Millhouse patio! It has a huge king size bed and you can easily access the pool. Are you planning a girl’s trip? I highly recommend room 128; this room has two queen beds and has been recently renovated. It very charming and the colors are very soothing. One of my favorites!
  3. Maybe the Trellis Court appeals to you? I have 3 suggestions. Room B is our newest creation in the “Court”. It is just a fun room! Big bathroom, private patio and close proximity to our guest reception. (Wine!) My second recommendation is for someone who may be traveling alone, it is Room 2, this room is teeny tiny, but super cute and has a tub/shower combo (not common in the Trellis Court) so you can enjoy a nice hot soak! Lastly, I love Room 1. My girlfriend’s and I planned a weekend away and no surprise they wanted to stay where I work! We rented Room 1, it has three beds and ideal if you want to stay up all night drinking wine and eating our famous chocolate chip cookies!
  4. My last recommendation is for all you frequent farmers. You know me and I know you. Look, I know you have your favorites. I get it. But try something new next time you book! I promise your favorite will always be there! You will be glad you did. Thanks for trusting me!