Autumn is fast approaching, bringing with it cooler weather, changing foliage and a delicious bounty of seasonal produce, including one of my favorite fruits: the apple. Finding delicious apples all year long doesn’t take much more than a quick jaunt to the supermarket, but when they’re in season, I prefer to buy my apples fresh. The farmer’s market is a great place to find fresh and local produce, but when it’s finally apple season, I enjoy picking them myself at a local pick-your-own apple orchard.
Start by finding an orchard near you that offers a pick-your-own option. I found PickYourOwn.org to be helpful for this step. PickYourOwn.org provides local listing for all types of pick-your-own farms for all seasons, ranging in products from berries and vegetables to Christmas trees. If you can’t find an orchard near you on this website, do a Google search for “pick your own apples in (your state).” After you peruse your local options and make your selection, be sure to visit the farm’s website or give them a call to make sure all the information listed is correct.
If you love apples then you’ll love picking your own right off the tree. Apples in grocery stores are usually picked before they’re ripe, shipped from far away and rubbed with wax to make them shiny. When you pick apples yourself, you know exactly where they’re coming from and that they’re perfectly ripe. Photo By Dani Hurst.
So why should you venture to an orchard to pick you own apples when you can buy some at the store with little to no effort? One good reason is the price difference. Apples can cost more than $2 per pound at the supermarket, but at the orchard I went to this weekend, Grimms Green Acres in Marietta, Ohio, you can pick your own for just 80 cents per pound. The people who own the orchard were also extremely friendly. One woman was even giving customers samples of every apple they had for sale just so we could taste the subtle differences.
Picking your own apples is also a good way to get outside and burn off a few calories. It’s a fun activity you can do alone or enjoy with friends and family. The scenery is always beautiful—rolling hills and rows of fragrant apple trees—and nothing beats the first bite of an apple straight off the tree. Plus, buying apples directly from an orchard instead of the ones at the store—which often come from different countries—supports local farmers.
Depending on where you live, getting to most orchards will require some driving. The orchard I visited last weekend was about an hour away from my house. While I understand that driving an hour every time I want apples isn’t practical, I found it to be a totally worthwhile experience.