Picking Apples

Picking apples at an orchard is a fun fall activity to enjoy with the family.

By Philip Hunt
Explore Ambassador

Fall is here and everyone’s excited to get outdoors without immediately being covered in sweat. While most outdoor recreation in the fall revolves around hiking and leaf gazing, apple picking can combine the two for a great family escape — an escape that brings back a bounty of fresh apples and great memories. Here are seven tips to have a great apple adventure.


Find An Orchard

The first step in finding an orchard is to search for one on the internet. Most places in the U.S. have an orchard within a day’s drive. Usually there are multiple orchards in the same area. Once you find an area to explore, look at reviews and ask around for the most enjoyable spots.


Know What You Are Picking

When you find an orchard, give them a call to ask what apples are ready to pick. There are roughly 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States. Some are ready to pick as early as August, while others may not be ready until November. Make sure the apples that are ready to pick fit your needs. Some apples are great for the kids’ lunchboxes, while others are better for baking.


Show Up Early

Getting to the orchard early in the morning helps you beat the crowds and get the best apples. Apple orchards can draw quite a crowd on the weekend. Some varieties may be picked out by Saturday afternoon.


Go On A Weekday

This may not be feasible for all families, but a weekday afternoon at a local orchard can feel like your own private picking session. The support staff is able to give you insights into the property that would be impossible with a huge weekend crowd. Most of these orchards have a long history that the owners are excited to tell. Your child may not remember their perfect attendance award, but they will always remember a family adventure. Sometimes we let school get in the way of our children’s education.


Pick More Than Just Apples

Most orchards are also farms that grow more than apples. Sunflowers, corn, pears and grapes are often on the property, too. Check with the staff to see what is in season besides apples.


Try Other Fun Activities

Corn mazes and hayrides are staples at apple orchards. Some corn mazes can be simple, while others should have a warning label stating that you need enough food and water for two days. Make sure to take a picture of the map before you get lost. Some orchards even have an air cannon that you can use to fire old apples at metal targets. These extra activities at the orchard will only add to the memories.


Take Some Goodies Home

Local apple cider, apple butter and jams are usually for sale at the apple shack, where you will pay for your apples. If it is hot, an apple cider slushy is just what the doctor ordered. No matter the weather outside, apple cider doughnuts are a must-buy product if available. Always get more than you think you need, as they tend to evaporate at an incredible rate on the drive home.

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