Back in 2016 I first wrote about visiting apple orchards in September for family fun. In 2020 I updated the post with new photos and information. Today’s post again has been updated with new information about apple orchard fall activities.
September is typically the best time to pick apples. Generally they should be harvested between late summer and late October. While different varieties of apples ripen at different times, and the harvest time varies each year, early fall is usually a reliable time for harvesting apples. If you are lucky enough to live in an area where apples grow, you know how wonderful apple orchards and cider mills are. My sister lives in Michigan and after Labor Day, everyone loves to go to the cider mills, apple orchards and farms. If you want to pick your own apples, there are orchards waiting for you. If you just want to buy beautiful fruit and cider, go to the old-time cider mills.
Visiting an apple orchard or mill is a great family activity to start off the season. The trees are starting to get a blush or yellowing, and nature knows fall is around the corner. Living in Florida, I miss the fall atmosphere and cider mill fun. It means family time to me as I have always gone with my sister’s family to enjoy the apples and treats. Going for drives in the country to look at changing trees, stopping for warm donuts and cider, and buying apples, local honey, and numerous other treats are some of my best memories. First we’ll visit the Mercier Orchards in Georgia. Since 1943, Mercier Orchards has offered a variety of delicious fruits and vegetables throughout the year in the market. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, they have a large variety of jams, jellies, preserves, apple butter, and much more in the market. There is a fresh bakery and a hard cider and wine center too. There is something truly for everyone.
Take a tractor tour of the orchard, visit the market, grab breakfast at the cafe, buy fresh baked goods, and try the hard cider and wine. The fields sit on 300 acres of land, filled with idyllic scenery sure to take your breath away. Mountains line the beautiful countryside, giving the sense of peace, quiet, and the perfect day with your family. Picking your own fruit is a great family activity.
The best apple-picking farms across the country offer lots of fun family activities in the fall. Each one may offer different types of apples, and many also feature plenty of fruits, berries, and veggies to grab while you’re there. I’ve always given examples in the eastern United States because that’s where I’ve always lived, but there are fabulous apple farms in many U.S. locations.
For example, every autumn, Los Rios Rancho (the oldest and largest apple farm in Southern California) is open for a harvest where families can make memories U-Picking 11 species of apples and pressing their own apple cider. There’s even activities like horseback, tractor, and carriage rides as well as a petting zoo and nature trails.
In the Midwest, visit Royal Oak Farm Orchard in Illinois with four orchards containing 20,000 trees producing 30 varieties of apples on 160 acres of farmland. Besides getting applies, try an apple tree maze, a carousel, a petting zoo, and even the Royal Oak Express, a replica of a 19th-century train that you are welcome to ride.
If you would like to find orchards, cider mills, and farms close to you, last year Country Living updated their great post, 35 Amazing Places to Go Apple Picking across the U.S. Check it out.
Most states have orchard listings for the state. There are also several directories online for the country. See a partial list of resources at the end of the post.
Enjoy the season, the fruit, and the fun.
To locate apple orchards near you, visit:
Pick Your Own Farms local listings of pick your own (also called U-pick or PYO) farms in the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other countries. pickyourown.org
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