Surrounded by snowcapped mountain peaks, Cashmere, 11 miles northwest of Wenatchee, is one of Washington's oldest towns, founded by Oblate missionaries back in 1853, when the Wenatchi and their vast herds of horses still roamed free over the bunch grasslands of the region. Some of the great Wenatchi leaders are buried in the mission cemetery. Today Cashmere is the apple, apricot, and pear capital of the Wenatchee Valley. Aplets and Cotlets/Liberty Orchards Co., Inc. was founded by two Armenian brothers who escaped the massacres of Armenians by Turks early in the 20th century, settled in this peaceful valley, and became orchardists. When a marketing crisis hit the orchards in the 1920s, the brothers remembered dried-fruit confections from their homeland, re-created them, and named them aplets (made from apples) and cotlets (made from apricots). Sales took off almost immediately, and today aplets and cotlets are known as the combination that made Cashmere famous. Free samples are offered during the 15-minute tour of the plant. If production isn't taking place, be sure to watch the video in the candy shop, which displays memorabilia and usually has specially priced confections.