Frequently Asked Questions
Visiting Tuttle Orchards
There is NO general admission or parking charge to enter the farm. Some activities and events may have admission charges. You can find the info on the specific prices for activities here.
Please leave all pets at home. Due to food safety requirements, pets are not permitted in any growing field or food prep areas. Trained ADA service dogs that are leashed and properly restrained are welcome. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service dogs under the ADA and are not permitted at Tuttles due to food safety regulations. We often get asked about why pets are allowed at some other farms. Because we are a farm that wholesales fruit to other farms, we have different food safety rules than some smaller farms, and those food safety rules require us to have rules about pets in growing areas.
Snacks and meals are available for purchase in our Cafe and on Saturdays during the fall at the Grill. No outside food is permitted except for school field trip lunches.
We accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, Cash, and Check. Sorry, we cannot accept WIC Farm Market Vouchers, SNAP, EBT or senior vouchers.
Tuttles is a smoke-free farm. Smoking and vaping is prohibited throughout the grounds and parking areas.
We do not have a charge for parking.
The greenhouse opens in mid-April (check the greenhouse page for opening dates each year), and admission is free. Tuttle’s Greenhouses are where more than 90% of our plants are grown. We grow:
- Annual flowers
- Perennial flowers
- Hanging baskets
- Vegetable plants
- Herb plants
- And more!
Tuttles has the following crops available for u-pick each year including several varieties of apples (Sep/Oct), pumpkins (Oct), and flowers (select fall dates). Other produce that is grown at Tuttles is available in the Farm Store, but is not available for pick your own. To see what produce is available to pick today, click here.
Yes, during the fall we offer a combo pass that includes all the activities or you may choose to purchase tickets for Tractor Town, Corn Maze, or Narrated Tractor Rides separately.
About the Farm
The farm is approximately 200 acres total. Currently, we grow about 50 acres of apples, 30 acres of vegetables, 20-25 acres of pumpkins. We also have 10,000 square feet of greenhouse space where we grow flowers and vegetable plants.
Yes. Roy Tuttle’s grandchildren and great grandchildren still manage the orchard along with lots of “adopted family” staff members. However, due to the generations, there is no longer anyone who has the last name of Tuttle. The current owners have the last name Roney, but they are 3rd and 4th generation Tuttles.
No, we do not wholesale large quantities of produce. We are primarily a retail farm and only have limited quantities available for wholesale.
Tuttle Orchards is still owned and operated by the same family that started the orchard in 1928. Read our history here.
We do not make deliveries. Tuttles is primarily a retail farm and the only wholesale that is available is for pickup.
We are primarily a retail greenhouse and do very little wholesale due to space restrictions.
We no longer are able to offer spring greenhouse fundraisers.
We are primarily a retail farm, but individual wholesale requests can be handled on a case by case basis. All of our wholesale is to other local farms and markets. We do not wholesale in large quantities to any larger stores, distributors, etc.
We currently grow more than 30 varieties of apples. A couple varieties have been recently planted and are not yet producing. You can see our apple variety chart here.
We grow our apple trees on trellis systems (in the newer orchards) because this is a technique used in high-density orchards to provide stability for the tree, a way to train the tree, and allows for more production per acre. Tuttle’s staff is regularly involved in continuing education and analyzing the latest research to find the best ways to grow apples.
Winter: All of our trees must be pruned in the winter. We begin pruning in December and work until March to prune all 8000+ trees that we have. The pruning helps to allow light to enter the tree, produce large size fruit, remove any diseased wood, and lengthen the life of the trees. Pruning can be a hard, cold job, but it’s necessary for having good apples.
Spring: The trees are carefully monitored for when they are in a “pink” stage which means they will be blooming soon. Local beekeepers are contacted to bring in bees to help pollinate the trees. Good pollination is essential for a good crop. Spring is also the time when the trees are treated to prevent fire blight (a disease that can kill trees) and apple scab. Spring is also the time we plant new orchards. Young trees are planted and carefully trellised to help them to grow properly and to protect them.
Summer: Trees are irrigated to make sure they are staying strong. Traps are placed in the orchard to look for moths (the insect that causes wormy apples). When a problem is detected, trees are treated to keep the apples in good condition.
Fall: Apples are monitored for their sugar levels and are picked at the stage of ripeness that is best for flavor and storage. Apples are all picked by hand and transported into our cold storage refrigeration until ready to be washed and sorted. We also use a Smart Fresh treatment on some varieties to preserve the firmness through the winter months. This treatment is a natural treatment that prevents the ethylene that apples naturally produce from over-ripening the fruit (causing soft apples).
No. Our apple trees are grown from grafts of existing trees. Common apple varieties you are familiar with are always non-GMO. GMO is not something that is common to apple production. There is really only one GMO variety of apple that exists (one that has been modified so that it does not turn brown after cutting). This is not a variety we grow at Tuttles or really one that is grown in many places – it is mostly just for research at this point.
We grow our apples sustainably, but we are not organic. We use the integrated pest management system (IPM) here at the orchard to care for our plants and trees.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management defines IPM as: “a system that focuses on reducing pests by using a series of pest management techniques that are safe for the environment and children and use both non-chemical and chemical methods.” In following IPM practices, we use a combination of biological, chemical, behavioral, cultural, and genetic factors to control pests in the orchard. In using IPM, spraying is not our only method of eliminating bugs and other pests. Instead, we use things like sampling plant nutrition, planting more disease resistant varieties, using natural predators to control pests, and others to control pests. A great deal of research has been done by Purdue University and other universities in the country to develop safe, good growing practices that can bring a balance to controlling pests through chemicals and other methods.
The term Organic refers to growing produce without the use of genetically modified organisms or synthetic pesticides. There are three main reasons why we do not grow our apples to be labeled organic. Here are the three:
Location: The warm, wet weather conditions with frequent rains during our growing season here in the Midwest are ideal for growing crops; however, they are also ideal for the growth of insects, diseases, and weeds. Because of our Indiana climate, growing saleable quality organic apples in a large setting is almost impossible. There are also some very dangerous fungi and bacteria such as fire blight that can affect and often kill the trees. Organically grown apples in the grocery store most often come from dry-aired climates where disease and insects are fewer and trees are often watered through irrigation. They are often shipped long distances losing some of their nutritional value.
At Tuttles, we work within our Indiana climate to use sustainable, healthy growing practices. Our trees are sprayed with carefully tested, approved fungicides and insecticides several times over the growing season. However, we do our best to reduce our use of chemicals as much as possible and spray only when necessary…especially since they are very expensive. It is important to recognize that organic apples are also sprayed with copper or lime sulfur to protect the trees and apples. Many of the pesticides we use are a synthetic form of copper.
Quantity: Here at the orchard, we have about fifty acres of apple trees. That’s approximately 8,000 trees. It can take a lot of time to care for each tree. In the world of growing organic apples, there are practices that may be practical to apply in your backyard garden which are not possible when you have over 8,000 trees. For example, some pests can be trapped or manually removed from the tree to prevent them from damaging the fruit. However, it’s just not practical for us to pull bugs off trees all day long. Instead, we use an integrated pest management system which is a combination of cultural, mechanical, biological, and chemical controls to keep pests at bay. For example, to control the red spider mites that like to attack the trees and suck juices from the leaves, we find that they have many natural predators like ladybugs, lacewings, and other mites. We also try to use disease control options that don’t kill these natural predators but encourage them to kill the harmful mites. All of our apples are safe to eat right from the tree. Any disease and insect control options that are used have been applied early in the season and have broken down to a safe level prescribed by the manufacturer before you pick them in the fall.
Quality: Apples grown organically on a large scale in Indiana tend to be very poor quality. They might be suitable for processing but would not be apples you would want to purchase for eating. Here at Tuttles, our goal is to grow high-quality apples that families can enjoy picking and eating right from the tree, and we think we’ve succeeded. We follow all government regulations and suggested practices to ensure that when you’re enjoying that fresh picked apple you are eating a healthy, safe fall treat.
We currently grow 30+ different types of vegetables, including winter crops, in our high tunnels, favorite summer vegetables like sweet corn and tomatoes, and fall squash and pumpkin crops. You can see our produce items here. We also source for our Farm Store other local or seasonal top-quality produce throughout the year.
We are able to have Indiana grown tomatoes by the first part of June through our work with high tunnel greenhouses. Tuttles is also pioneering the growing of tomatoes in high tunnels in central Indiana. High tunnels are a greenhouse canopy that are placed over the ground. Plants are planted directly into the soil. The greenhouse protects them from frost in the early spring and late fall. There is also a heater that can be used at night to protect them from frost. These high tunnel tomatoes have a great Indiana taste but are available early in the season (June) and late into the fall (Sep/Oct). We also grow tomatoes in the summer in our outdoor fields.
Through our high tunnels, we are able to plant crops in November that can produce throughout the winter months in these greenhouse structures. A heater is not used in the winter, but the sun and greenhouse canopy provide protection for the winter type crops we grow. Lettuce or spinach may frost, but after thawing they can again be harvested. We grow lettuce, spinach, turnips, carrots, and more in our high tunnels.
At Tuttles, we use Integrated Pest Management and sustainable growing practices. We have won many awards for having top-quality produce. What is Integrated Pest Management? The Indiana Department of Environmental Management defines IPM as: “a system that focuses on reducing pests by using a series of pest management techniques that are safe for the environment and children and use both non-chemical and chemical methods.” In following IPM practices, we use a combination of biological, chemical, behavioral, cultural, and genetic factors to control pests and disease. In using IPM, spraying is not our only method of eliminating bugs and other pests. Instead we use things like sampling plant nutrition, planting more disease resistant varieties, using natural predators to control pests. A great deal of research has been done by Purdue University and other universities in the country to develop safe, good growing practices that can bring a balance to controlling pests through chemicals and other methods.
An example of our use of IPM is in sweet corn production: We place a trap in the field to look for moths (that can cause wormy corn). We trap and count daily the number of moths so that we are able to only spray when necessary to keep corn worm-free.
All of our summer varieties of sweet corn are Non-GMO varieties. We do not grow any Round Up ready sweet corn.
For the fall season (Labor Day-Mid October), we grow a BT variety of sweet corn so that we can continue to grow corn for the fall season. Other summer varieties do not perform well later into September and October due to the high presence of corn ear worms after field corn has been harvested. This BT Corn is a GMO because it has a naturally occurring toxin from the soil inserted that discourages worms from eating the ears. It is not the same thing as Round Up Ready GMO Corn. Growing BT Corn allows us to grow fall corn without having to spray continuously for worms.
Yes, we use an ultraviolet light form of pasteurization to treat our cider for your protection. Our apple cider is safe for consumption by high risk individuals, such as pregnant mothers. The UV light pasteurization kills any potential bacteria while still maintaining the apple cider taste you love.
No. It’s just apples. That’s all!
Yes, we have lots and lots of customers who purchase our cider for this purpose. The UV light treatment does not kill the elements in the cider needed for fermentation like a heat pasteurization process does. Order our cider here!
We’re glad you noticed. Yes, we do pride ourselves on having top quality cider…and we’ve won awards for that. Best Cider in USA, Best Cider in Indiana! We believe there are several factors that lead to great tasting cider:
- Using top quality apples for the cider.
- Using a special mix of apples for the cider.
- Making our cider in small batches on our press.
- UV pasteurization process.
- No added ingredients or preservatives.
Apple cider has a shelf life of about two weeks. Because we do not add preservatives, the cider must be refrigerated.
Work at Tuttles
We hire almost all of our staff in the fall season. Part time positions available for holiday, spring, and summer seasons are filled from fall staff from the previous seasons who demonstrate aptitude and are a good fit with the Tuttles culture. If you have a desire to work at Tuttles in other seasons, we suggest you join us for a fall season to see if Tuttles might be a good fit for you. Some years, we have a limited number of summer positions open after slots have been filled by returning staff.
Because of the large number of applications we typically receive, Tuttles will only contact those applicants who have been invited to a second interview. You should expect to hear something by Labor Day at the latest if you are being considered. We often have way more applicants than we can accommodate.
Yes, we provide several training sessions to our seasonal staff including Orientation, Guest Interaction Training, and “Apple School” where you will become an expert in all things apple. Tour guides will receive several days of extensive training to prepare them for leading groups through the orchard. Paid training is required to work at Tuttles.
We often have more qualified applicants than we can hire so if you have applied in the past and were not called for a position and would still like to work at Tuttles, please feel free to apply again. There are often occasions where people apply the first year and do not receive a position but do the second year. Keep in mind that Saturday availability is important for many positions.
If you have worked at Tuttles in a past season and have received an invitation to reapply at the end of your season, please contact us in mid-July or before. It is important to contact us by early August if you are interested in returning. Please note: Tuttles reevaluates all positions each year. Employment in the past does not guarantee employment in future seasons. However, many Tuttles employees return year after year to the fall season.
You must be 16 years old to work at Tuttles (18 for some positions).
Due to lots of legal and insurance stuff, we can’t allow volunteers, but many of those who work in the fall enjoy part time positions. They feel like it’s being a paid volunteer. It’s so fun!
Most of our high school students work two weekday afternoons from 4-7:30PM and every Saturday. Also students often work approx. 30 hours a week over their fall break (for those who have full week breaks). For students who have Saturday availability, Tuttles is a great fit! If you are involved in lots of Saturday school activities, Tuttles is not a good fit for employment as we do not offer Sunday or evening hours. Availability over fall break is also an important consideration for us in evaluating applicants as that is a very busy time here at the orchard.
Tuttles Tote Program
Our summer season opens for sign up in February (late winter/early spring).
The goal of the tote program is to provide you with a convenient selection of the best produce. Because of this we don’t offer customization of the boxes. If you are someone who likes to select your produce each week, we encourage you to shop in our farm store.
Those who choose to invest in the orchard by paying at the beginning of the season will receive $5 off your tote each week, a big savings over the course of the season. This helps us buy seeds and plants and get things growing.
Most items are grown right here at the orchard. We grow over 30 types of veggies and over 8,000 apple trees. We also source items from other farmers who are experts at growing different items (peaches from the south, strawberries from our friends in the area). Read more about our growing practices here.
The weekly summer program includes one vacation week.
Produce & Product Requests for Non-Profits
Schools, churches, and other non-profit groups who would like to get a discounted price for apples, cider, and mini pumpkins.
Please order at least one week before you wish to pick up. For fall orders, availability for pumpkins will be updated in mid-September. Ordering early for pumpkins is encouraged. There is a very good chance later in the season there will no longer be pumpkins available.
Pre-order allows us to make sure we have your product ready for you and also ensures that we don’t overcommit product. To receive this pricing, pre-order/pre-payment is required. We cannot hold products for groups that have not pre-paid as we often have a waiting list and we want to ensure that we are able to help as many groups as possible.
Because we get hundreds of requests a year, we are unable to meet all those requests with free product. Instead, we have decided the fairest option is to allow all groups to have discounted pricing on these products.
We’re sorry. We do not deliver. If you are needing a semi load size order of pumpkins (several thousand), we can connect you with a wholesaler who could deliver. They do not deliver small orders, only very large orders.
We are only able to grow enough large pumpkins to fill our retail demand. The pumpkins that are available for discounted pricing are pie pumpkins and mini pumpkins. We find these are the best price and size for groups.
All pickups must be Monday-Friday. We do not offer Saturday pickups, because it’s just too busy around here on Saturdays in the fall.
Please bring with you a copy of some document from your non profit indicating your tax exempt status. You must present a proof of tax exempt status at pickup or we are required by law to charge you tax at pickup.
Please come to the Farm Store.
Call 317-326-2278 and ask for Heather. Please note: we are unable to accept orders over the phone. To ensure all orders are ready for you at pickup, all orders must be placed online at least one week in advance.
Group Visits & School Trips
You can choose to pay the minimum for a group tour or choose to participate in our general public u-pick and farm activities which are also open on weekday hours.
Fall: Weather in September and October is normally great for a visit to the orchard. Elementary tours can be moved indoors in the event of rain. We will replace the hayride with other activities. Because of the unpredictability of Indiana weather, we don’t reschedule tours in advance of the morning of your tour. For adult groups, if the farm activities are closed due to inclement weather, you may use your tickets for an alternate day during this fall season. We’re sorry, no refunds are available for tickets.
At this time, we do not rent out space for these types of activities. You are welcome to come as members of the general public or purchase group activity passes, but we do not have a private space to hold your party or event.
No. Tuttles is not set up with outside lighting or facilities for evening events. We encourage groups interested in these types of events to check out other central Indiana destinations that provide some great evening group experiences.
We are able to accommodate groups of up to 100 people at a time during our peak season of Sep 15-Oct 31. Sometimes on weekday afternoons (2-7pm), we are able to accommodate groups of up to 200 people. For peak Saturdays, we are not currently able to accommodate groups of more than 100 people at the same time. We can sometimes offer groups vouchers to bring on the day of their choosing.
We are not able to provide private seating for lunch groups during the fall season. Contact us for information about treat vouchers for larger groups or for meal options.
Friends of the Farm Store Club
The Friends of the Farm Store Club is a frequent shopper rewards program designed to say THANKS to those who shop regularly in our Farm Store. Members of the club receive points on purchases to earn rewards!
You will receive a point for every dollar spent in the Farm Store & Greenhouse on regularly priced items (discounted items and sales tax excluded). Your points will not expire. They will remain on your account until you use them. You can earn points on every purchase by entering your cell phone number at checkout.
Points have no expiration date, they will keep accumulating as long as you don’t redeem them!
200 points can be redeemed for one of the following:
- 14 oz Jar of Apple Butter or Applesauce
- 1/4 Peck of Apples
- Half Gallon of Apple Cider
- $5 off Greenhouse (April-June only, excludes mums and fall flowers)
400 points can be redeemed for one of the following:
- 1/2 Peck of Apples
- Gallon of Apple Cider
- $10 off Greenhouse (April-June only, excludes Fall flowers and mums)
600 points can be redeemed for one of the following:
- Fruit Pie (excludes chicken pot pie, dumplings, quiche)
For any purchase from the Farm Store or Greenhouse, one point is rewarded for every full dollar spent. If an item is discounted or on sale it will not count towards points. Sales tax does not count towards points. Partial dollars also do not count towards points. For example: $1.30 = 1 point.
You can choose to redeem your points as soon as you reach 200 points or you can continue until you reach 600 points. You should receive a text when you sign up that will provide you with a link to check your rewards status.