Before I had kids, I always wanted to go apple-picking with the Engineer. He was not into this idea.
But now that we have kids, he has to go (even though he still loathes the idea – why – I don’t know). And so we go. I do wonder at the groups of childless adults I see picking apples because admittedly it does seem like a very child-thing to do. There are often bouncy castles or some sort of kid activity. And I can’t help but think: if you don’t have a kid you would be spending your weekend sleeping.
I digress. The point of this entry is to share my favourite spots for apple picking. Kids or not – these are some good picks. And I sort of want to keep them for myself save they get crazy overcrowded like Downey’s. But I will share them with you because if you are reading this post – you are seeking apple-picking places that are not insane like Downey’s
Although – as an FYI – Downey’s is awesome. It just explodes on the weekend. Which I suspect all of these places do. Therefore the first (and only) rule of apple-picking club is:
I mean out the door at 8 and at these places as soon as they open at 9. If you go in the mid-morning/afternoon, they all become gong shows.
Now for my (very short) list:
Hands down my favourite of them all.
This is a very insta-worthy orchard and the owners have thought of so many sweet details.
The reason it stands out as my favourite is their kitchen where you can bake your own apple pie!
For $20, you get use of their apple-pie making stations and all the ingredients. You don a vintage-cute apron and then begin peeling your apples. They have easy-to-follow instructions and it’s so well set up – that George and Alice can do it!
I got quite emotional here. Partly because I was only a month postpartum and partly because with the warm sun streaming in on the weathered workbench, the smell of the apples and sugar, and the old-school apple-peeler I was transported back to my grandmother’s kitchen on the farm (baking with her is idealic as it sounds).
Then they either bake your pie or box it up for you to take home.
This is what stands out for me as what makes them the best. The do however also have apples. You know, in case you want to pick some.
They are open WEEKENDS ONLY from 9-5 and it is key to get here early!
I believe they accepted debit/credit/cash and there was a small admission fee for each of us (under $10) – but I will confirm this as soon as possible.
There is a tractor hay ride, a fun ‘sandbox’ that is filled with corn, sensory stations with grains and water, hay bales to jump in and a delicious hot-dog and corn roast (like you get to dip your roasted corn in a vat of melted butter – it’s divine).
Coming in at a very close second is Applewood Farm.
This is a fantastic apple picking farm that we love to take the kids to each September. We always go on a weekday (although you still have to go early!) and have a picnic amid the apple trees where the kids roam freely picking apples and playing.
The reason I love it here so much is the fact it is (a) quiet and (b) Honey Crisp apples are basically a bargain! I worked it out last year that had I bought our apples at the store, they would have cost well over $100. But putting my then-three-year old and his buddies to work, we picked three bags that came to $60. That may seem like alot for apples but then you might not understand my deep affection for Honey Crisp apples.
I love them.
Like really really love them.
I don’t really eat apples anytime of the year other than September and October when I have these puppies in my house. I eat at least one or two a day. My kids eat two or three!
And we all have very healthy digestive systems in the fall 🙂
So to pick up my fall supply in a sunny afternoon at half the price of the grocery store is pretty much the best thing.
Admission is $10/person for anyone 3 and up – which I think is a bit steep when you have a few kids. Although last year when I watched how our kids ‘picked’ apples – I realize that admission covers all the wasted produce that ends up on the ground or the apples that end up in tummies before they hit the bag.
And then you have option to pick or not pick apples. You get a 20lb bag for $20. They do take card.
For the kids, there is a tractor-hay ride, lots of hay to play on, and a fun play structure. For the adults, there is also a fruit winery! But no food or drinks – so make sure to bring a picnic and lots of water.
I told you my list was short!
I generally stick to these two farms for apple picking but I do follow others on social media or have visited others for berry-picking.
This is my list here:
I follow these guys on Instagram and definitely want to check them out this year. They have apples available are are $12/person under 3 but this includes a 5lb PYO bag of apples.
It looks like they have a delicious farm market with fresh baked breads, cookies and pies (look at that bread!!) and animals on the farm to visit.
They are open weekdays 9am-6pm and weekends 9am-5pm.
This is a very small operation compared to the other flashy ones with corn mazes and bouncy castles.
You can find this family-run and quaint orchard up in Uxbridge. They charge $15/10LB Bag and that is it. No admission charges!
They are open weekends only from 10AM to 4PM.
On September 30th, they host their Cider Day which includes fresh made cider and local artisans.
JC Agri Orchards looks like a really lovely family-run orchard that is apple-picking only (as in no hayrides or bouncy castles). They do have a market store with pre-picked apples, apple cider and baked goods.
I am just waiting to hear back regarding pricing for apples but their admission is free.
Their hours are Tuesday-Friday from 9AM-4:30PM and Weekends 9AM-5PM.
And their daughter makes really cute videos for them.
Definitely worth checking out but be warned the crowds get insane on the weekends. I did just notice that Chudleigh’s has music nights from 4PM during the weekends that looks really cute. They also have DELICIOUSLY wonderful apple blossoms!
I hope this list gives you a start of where to go!
And happy apple picking,