Lauren Dunbar and Paul Galloway sit near the stone fireplace at the Apple Works in Trafalgar on Monday. Dunbar is the new owner of the popular orchard and agritourism attraction, and with Galloway, they plan to carry on the traditions built over more than 30 years.


For more than 30 years, people have been making their way to the hills outside Trafalgar to visit the Apple Works.

They browse inside their orchard’s shop for more than 50 varieties of fresh apples, picked from the business’ own trees. Shoppers load up delectable baked goods, locally made products and country-charm home decor.

In the fall, people trek to the pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect gourd. During warmer months, they picnic around waterfalls and ponds on the grounds.

Lauren Dunbar wants to be sure it all continues on.

“It means a lot to me to be able to carry on the traditions,” she said. “It’s a very wholesome, rewarding feeling to be able to provide food for the community.”

The next chapter in the history of the Apple Works started late last year, when Dunbar transitioned into her role as the new owner of one of the county’s most popular agritourism sites. She takes over from Rick and Sarah Brown, who founded the orchard in 1989.

Dunbar brings with her a history of running successful small businesses, and though she and her partner, Paul Galloway, have a vision for the Apple Works, her main focus is keeping the heart that has made it such a special place.

“We want it to be known that it’s Paul and Lauren now, and carrying on the agriculture business in Johnson County,” Dunbar said.

The Apple Works’ first trees were planted by hand by the Browns, and the first apple crop was harvested two years later. They had no farm store yet, so the Browns bought two refrigerators to place in their apple field. Their daughters Alison and Maggie would take orders from cars passing by on the roadway, then they’d run to the refrigerators to get the fresh apples.

Over the years, the Apple Works orchard grew, as did the business with the construction of the barn and farm store. The 25-acre orchard produces 12,000 bushels of apples per year, and offers a wide variety of activities year-round.

Though people visit the farm throughout the year, the fall is their busiest time, bringing hundreds of people to pick pumpkins, pick up apple cider and listen to live music.

But as the Browns grew older, they started looking for someone who could carry on their work.

“It’s awfully hard to get off the farm. While we’re still in good health, we want to spend some time with family that we don’t get to see often,” said Sarah Brown in 2020, after they announced their plans to sell the orchard. “But we’re very devoted to helping whoever takes over with the transition.”

The Apple Works remained on the market for two years, until Dunbar and Galloway stepped into the picture. Dunbar has been a business owner in Indianapolis for more than 25 years, and was looking for a new opportunity two years ago. Several of her friends had mentioned that the Apple Works was for sale.

She had been to the orchard before, so knew a little bit of what it was about. As she investigated it, she had support from Galloway, who is a sixth-generation apple grower.

The purchase didn’t resonate with them, though. But in 2022, the idea of buying the orchard bubbled back up. The situation seemed right this time around.

“I’m a mother of five. The community is important to me, I’ve lived in Johnson County about 17 years, my kids go to school for the most part here in the county. I love the community feel, and being a part of Johnson County,” she said. “It was the right time.”

The Browns accepted their offer, and as the deal was being finalized, invited Dunbar and Galloway to come out and get a feel for the orchard. They came at the start of the Apple Works’ busiest season, and was able to get a feel for the madness that autumn weekends bring.

“Sarah just took me under her wing,” Dunbar said. “It’s been a great process, and we’re still in constant communication. She’s helping educate me, and it’s been an easy transition.”

Dunbar sees the aspects of the orchard that make it special, and wants to retain those traditions. She has some ideas she wants to try, to make different processes more efficient, so it is easier to accommodate field trips and other customers.

More trees are on order for planting. New events could be added throughout the year, as well as additional products to sell at the orchard store, she said.

“We’re already putting our stamp on things and changing from processes. We have great staff who have been there for several years who we are happy to have on the team,” she said. “It’s a lot of work, and takes a lot of people to bring good apples to the community for sale.”


The Apple Works

Where: 8157 S. CR 250 W., Trafalgar

Winter hours: The country store, featuring baked goods, sauces, salsa, apples and other items, is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Closed the rest of the week.