Frequently Asked Questions about apples - Gays Mills, WI | Sunrise Orchards, Inc.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are your hours? 

We’re open daily from Mid August – Mid December

9 am – 5 pm: August – October

9 am – 4 pm: November – December (Closed Thanksgiving)

Senior Hours: DAILY 8 am-9am August - December 

Where are you located? 

We’re located in Gays Mills, Wisconsin on the beautiful bluffs of rural Southwest Wisconsin. Visit us: Sunrise Orchards, Inc., 48340 State Highway 171, Gays Mills, WI 54631.

How do we contact the orchard? 

You’re welcome to call us when we’re open Mid August thru Mid December at 608-735-4645, or email us at We look forward to hearing from you!

Is there an entrance fee? 

There is NO admission fee to Sunrise Orchards and we have something for everyone to enjoy. 

Are you a pick-your-own orchard? 

No.  We pick the apples for you and they are available for purchase in our retail building August – December.  

Is there a picnic area? 

Yes.  Picnic tables are scattered throughout outside. 

Do you have a blog? 

Yes!  A great way to find out the latest news and information from Sunrise Orchards, is to follow our blog at  

How do I get the annual postcard?

Each year, in early August, we send out a postcard, with news, events and a coupon!  Sign up to receive our postcard here

How do I get on your email mailing list? 

We send emails from Sunrise Orchards throughout our growing season, to update you on the latest events and sales.  We send the BEST apple news around!  You can sign up to receive our emails at here

Are you still on Facebook?

We rejoined Facebook the fall of 2022!

When are your different apple varieties available?

Discover when our more than 21 different varieties of apples are ready for sale and their best uses, by visiting our up-to-date Apple Availability chart on our website:

Keep in mind, that these are approximate harvest dates and weather is a very important factor, as to when the apples are harvested and available to purchase. You are welcome to contact us, by telephone regarding availability, before making a trip out to Sunrise Orchards.

What are the various ways to use your apples?

Sunrise Orchards grows more than 21 different varieties of apples ripening throughout the season. Our apples can be used for eating fresh, pie, sauce, baking, freezing, jelly, salads and pickling. To discover specifically which varieties are best for different applications visit our Apple Availability chart on our website:

How do you freeze apples?

Freezing apples for use in cooking and baking, is a great way to keep apples available all year long. Sweeter apples than as Fuji’s and Galas, are more likely to hold their flavor, than tart varieties. 

Any apple will keep well in the freezer however for 6-9 months. The texture of the apple, will be altered by freezing, leaving the flesh spongier than that of a fresh apple. That change in texture, doesn’t affect cooking and baking applications. The freezing method will depend on how they’ll be used later.

Peeled, cored and sliced apples can be used later in any cooked recipe. Pies, muffins, cobblers and even applesauce, can be made from frozen apples. A swivel peeler or a sturdy slicer/corer, make preparation easier.  Both peelers and slicer/corers are available to Sunrise Orchards.  

Sliced apples dipped in a bowl of water with a little lemon juice (about a tablespoon per gallon) prevents browning.  Cortland apples resist browning naturally. 

To prevent the apples from clumping, arrange slices on a plate or baking tray lined with parchment or waxed paper. Pre-freeze the apple slices between 4 hours – 24 hours, before bagging them in airtight containers or freezer bags. Date and label contents. Apples can be stored frozen for up to 1 year.

What kind of donuts do you offer?

We are known for our donuts.  It would not be Sunrise Orchards without donuts!  We offer plain or sugared apple cider donuts made daily in the Apple Corner bakery. Our fresh-pressed Sunrise apple cider goes into each batch of donuts. Some say our donuts are legendary!

Do your donuts freeze well?

Sunrise apple cider donuts both sugared and plain freeze well. To freeze our fresh-baked donuts, remove donuts from the bag/box and place in a heavy-duty freezer bag. The side with the sugar should be facing up. Push as much as air possible out of the bag and seal the top almost all the way to the edge, leaving about a quarter-inch unsealed.  Slide a straw into the unsealed section of the bag. Gently suck the air out of the bag through the straw. This is the secret to keeping donuts fresh!  The donuts will maintain their best quality for about 3 months, however will remain safe to eat beyond that time.

To thaw and reheat donuts, here are three methods:

Counter: The easiest way to defrost frozen donuts is to take them out of the freezer and let them sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.  Keep them in the container they were frozen in.  Once thawed, eat as is or reheat them.

Microwave: If you want your frozen donuts defrosted quickly, then the microwave serves a double purpose. It will thaw them, as well as reheat them.  Place the donut in an open microwave save plastic bag.  Microwave frozen donuts for 10 to15 seconds on 50% power.  Allow to cool down a little before eating.

Oven:The oven can thaw and reheat donuts at the same time.  Preheat the oven to 350°F. Take donuts from the freezer and place in an oven safe container or baking sheet.  Place in the oven for between 5 to 7 minutes.  Check if it’s warmed to your liking.  Remove, let cool a little and enjoy.

We also have donuts for sale frozen in a plastic clam, ready for your freezer or for thawing.

How long do donuts last at room temperature?

We recommend that our freshly made apple cider donuts are enjoyed within a couple of days. To extend their freshness, refrigerate  up to 1 week. To maximize donut shelf life, keep them in the original box or bag or place them in a plastic container to prevent drying out.

How long do donuts last in the refrigerator?

Our freshly baked apple cider donuts will keep well for about 1 week in the refrigerator.

What cookie flavors do you offer?

We offer mouth-watering caramel apple oatmeal and cranberry walnut oatmeal cookies.  Both our baked goods are made fresh and irresistible!

Do apples need to be refrigerated? 

Yes!  Experts agree, the refrigerator is THE best place to store apples, providing the ideal conditions for apples because they need very cold and humid storage.  In fact, apples stored in the refrigerator will stay fresh for up to 10 times longer than fruit stored at room temperature.  Storing apples properly is important for keeping them fresh and delicious as long as possible. 

Apples prefer a very cold environment and keep best in the refrigerator held at 33 degrees Fahrenheit and high humidity (90-95%)Premier Honeycrisp, Honeycrisp, and EverCrisp apples need to be stored at 38 degrees Fahrenheit and high humidity (90-95%).   For this reason, the crisper drawer is the best home for your favorite apples, but away from other produce.  If your refrigerator has an option to adjust the humidity, in the crisper drawer, turn it up as high as it can go.  

Apples continue to ripen long after they're picked.  To reduce shrivel, store apples in the crisper drawer with a moist wet paper towel.  Apples can be stored individually or in a ventilated plastic bag.  You can also wrap each apple individually in a paper towel, newspaper or newsprint.  The goal is to keep the temperature constant and keep them from bruising.   

It's best to locate apples and other ethylene producing fruit, away from citrus and vegetables in the refrigerator.  For example, don't store apples and oranges in the crisper drawer or apples and vegetables together.  The ethylene from the apples will cause some produce, mostly vegetables, to spoil very quickly.  Potatoes can make apples ripen faster, so store them elsewhere.  

At room temperature, apples will last about 5 to 7 days.  Beyond that, they begin to degrade in quality and nutritional content.  They begin to lose their flavor and freshness and either shrivel or get mushy.  Once that happens, most people would rather toss them than eat them.  The sooner you store your fresh apples, the longer they will last.

So, don't leave them sitting out on the counter very long, before storing them in the refrigerator.  They can quickly become overripe on the counter, which means they will degrade much faster.  The refrigerator, keeps apples fresh anywhere from three weeks to three months (or longer) - making it the wiser choice for storing apples you buy in bulk. 

There is NO substitute for refrigeration to properly store apples. A cool room in the basement is around 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit, which is not cold enough to prevent premature spoiling.  If you don't have refrigerator space, use the apples for eating and baking right away.  Or, come to Sunrise Orchards later in the season, as we store them under optimum conditions.  

STORAGE TIPS - To ensure your apples have the longest lifespan possible: 

  • Store apples in a crisper drawer, away from other produce, with humidity set to maximum. 
  • Don't wash your apples until you're ready to eat them. 
  • Don't store a bruised apple long term.  Even one apple that rots can spoil an entire bunch. 
  • Check your apples that are in storage for signs of spoiling. Remove any spoiled apples immediately before it spreads.   
  • Keep apples away from fragrant foods. Apples absorb odors from other foods and can also speed up ripening of other vegetables and fruits.   
  • Apples keep best in the refrigerator held at 32-38 degrees and high humidity (90-95%).
  • Premier Honeycrisp, Honeycrisp, and EverCrisp apples need to be stored at 38 degrees Fahrenheit and high humidity (90-95%). 

Can apple cider be frozen?

Yes. To freeze apple cider, pour and enjoy at least one cup from the bottle to allow room for expansion.  Stored in the deep freeze, cider will maintain its best quality, for 8-12 months, however will remain safe beyond that time. 

How long does apple cider last after being frozen and thawed?  

Sunrise apple cider that’s been thawed in the refrigerator, can be enjoyed for about one month when kept in the refrigerator.  Apple cider that was thawed in the microwave or in cold water, should be used immediately.

How long does apple cider last once opened?

All Sunrise Cider has a date code printed on the bottle.  The cider will stay fresh to that date, if kept properly refrigerated.  To further extend the shelf life of opened apple cider, it can be frozen.

Is the apple cider pasteurized?

Our apple cider is flash pasteurized and bottled at Sunrise all season long.  Our cider can be found in many Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota grocery stores. 

Do you have pumpkins for sale?

Our pumpkins have been picked and ready for you to select your favorite ones!  You'll find the pumpkins, in the children's play area, at the end of the main parking lot across from the retail building. 

Do you have a children’s area?  

Yes!  Children and families love playing at our outdoor Sunrise Family Park!  The lawn checkers game, horse tire swings at the Sunrise Corral, lawn bowling lanes and more, are sure to please the entire family.

What events do you offer and is there an admission?

Each year at Sunrise Orchards we offer weekend events for our customers. All our events are FREE and include:

Labor Day Sale, Donut Weekend, Honeycrisp Weekend, Honeycrisp Sale Weekend, Caramel Apple Weekend, Honeycrisp #2 BOGO, Trick-or-Treat, Evercrisp Weekend, Pre-Thanksgiving Sale, Black Friday Sale, Customer Appreciation Dinner & Shopping and Christmas Celebration at Sunrise.

For more details on all these events, they can be found on our website at  and on on our blog page at  

Do you offer parking?

Parking is conveniently located in our south and east parking lot. Handicapped parking is immediately in front of the Sunrise Orchards building and on the east end. Motorcycle parking is located on the west end of our retail building near the Curd Mobile.  Tour buses may access Sunrise from the east parking lot and are welcome to pull up to the building.  

Are dogs allowed at Sunrise?

Yes!  We love all dogs and want them to enjoy a trip to the orchard as well.  However,  due to regulations, only service animals are allowed in the building.  We have a designated area to walk your dog, our Sunrise Orchards Memorial Dog Walk Park.  We’ve even provided pet waste bags and a trash can, for convenience in cleaning up afterward. The dog park is located near the east end of the building.  Ask for directions, as we're happy to help our furry friends. 

Do you offer Gift Boxes?

Yes! At Sunrise Orchards, we hand-select each item and create a customized gift box. With mouth-watering fresh picked apples and specialty food products, we create the ideal gift for everyone on your list. We also offer apple gift boxes to businesses for that something special for clients and employees.  To place gift box orders, call us at 608-735-4645 or go online at:

Do you offer online shopping?

Yes!  You can enjoy the “taste of Sunrise” throughout the year when you shop our Sunrise Orchards Online Store, 24-7 – 365 days a year! You can select from: jams and jellies; syrups; pie filling; salsa; specialty items; butter and sauces. From our orchard to your table, you’ll enjoy these favorites!

What restaurants are closest to Sunrise Orchards? 

The closest restaurants near Sunrise Orchards in Gays Mills, Wisconsin are in:  Soldier's Grove- McCormick's Bar & Grill Rolling Ground (7 minutes away) and Country Gardens (13 minutes away); Readstown - Kickapoo Corners Family Restaurant and Kickapoo Creekside (both 17 minutes away); Boscobel - there are several restaurants (24 miles away).