Pastor Steven Wainwright pauses in the shade of the shelterhouse at Camp Appleseed.

By Kathryn Rice

Camp Appleseed will hold its first open house at 6 pm, Sunday, June 27 at 1598 State Highway 2, Bedford, IA 50833.

Any and all ages are invited to tour the orchard and camp, boat on the four acre lake, enjoy the fellowship and the Christian worship. Wainwright requested attendees to bring table service, something to grill and a potluck dish.

Reverend Steven Wainwright of the First Christian Church, Hopkins, received a vision from God of a wonderful way to reach today’s youth by bringing back Christian Church camping. There is presently no Christian Church camp in a 100 mile radius, he said.

Wainwright said he had experienced God so many times in the church camp setting. He feels this tradition should return.

Along with his wife, Cynthia, he has directed several camps through the years and is excited about bringing about Camp Appleseed.

“Church camping offers a wonderful way of showing the face of God,” he said. “The cost of camps has increased through the years. I want to have this available for everyone so the cost of the camp will be a freewill donation and the donation of food for the provided meals which are cooked outside in the outdoor kitchen.”

Everyone will sleep in tents, with activities of canoeing and kayaking, fishing, learning how to make cider, picking apples, learning about God’s work and God’s son, Jesus Christ. All churches are welcome to use the camp, regardless of denomination, along with family gatherings, reunions, weddings and other Christian activities.

The Hopkins First Christian Church is the founding ministry of this Christian mission for all ages. The church, the Wainwrights and other private donations are being used to bring Camp Appleseed to reality.

Arthur S. Wainwright homesteaded the farm in 1872. By the late 1880s, Arthur had established a 1,000 tree orchard. He sold apples and other fruit to the community. He also took apples to the train station in Ladoga, IA, which were then sent throughout the Midwest.

The orchard died during the depression. Trees were planted again on the 40 remaining acres by Wainwright and his father, Edgar. Presently, the new orchard supplies the community with apples, and other fruits, including peaches and cherries, through the harvest season. Wainwright has continued to plant trees on the acreage with several being planted last year and this, bringing the tree count back up to 1,000.

The rough winter has reduced the peach crop this year, however, there will be a bumper apple crop.

Wainwright has named the orchard the Ladoga LaBlanche Orchards. People can pick their own or buy already picked. LaBlanche is after his grandmother, Blanche. The orchard has been used as a Christian retreat and features a cabin suitable for meetings. There is also a little one-room red school house named after his mother, the Mary Helen Wainwright School No. 1. The school is used for sales at the orchard.

Wainwright is working on camps for various ages, including families, and are open to everyone. These camps will be held in July and August, for more information, contact Wainwright at 712.303.7766.

A special Camp Apple Butter Festival will begin at 9 am and end at sunset, Saturday, October 16. The camp will feature making homemade apple butter, cider, picking apples, singing and worship.


For more information on Ladoga LaBlanche Orchards, the website is and on Facebook at Ladoga LaBlanche Orchards.