Last year, during RJ’s Fall Break, we made our first trip to an apple orchard. That trip started a tradition and last week we kicked off his Fall Break with some apple picking fun! I’m still figuring out the dos and don’ts of this orchard life, but here are 6 questions you should consider if there is an apple picking adventure in your future.
Did I Check the Weather Forecast?
If you’re like me, you think apple picking and the thought of cool, crisp mountain air pops into your head. Well, that hasn’t been the case the two times we’ve gone to the orchards. Each year I’ve whipped out my boots and button down shirts, only to get there and realize shorts and a t-shirt would have sufficed. My suggestion to you, check the weather and dress in layers.
Do I Have Cash With Me?
Sometimes the orchard don’t take cards for whatever reason. You can’t go wrong with cash. About $30 has been enough to cover apples and treats for our family.
Are the Apples I Want Available?
Visiting the orchard when the apples you like/want are actually available is kinda important. I never go with a certain apple variety in mind, but if you want granny smiths for a pie, it would suck to go when their season is over. Don’t let the grocery store fool you into thinking all apple varieties are available year round. You can check the websites of most orchards for availability calendars.
Do I know How to the Pick the Ripest Apples?
Equally as important as knowing when the apples you want are in season, is knowing how to pick the perfect apple! This is definitely something I need to do more research on. You don’t want to pick a 1/2 bushel of apples only to find they are gross because they weren’t ripe. Now, the orchards do tell you which varieties should be ready, but that doesn’t mean every apple on the tree is ripe. Knowing the characteristics (color, firmness and ease of picking it from the tree) of a ripe apple based on the varieties available can help a lot. Honestly, I’m a little suspect of some of the ones we picked, but RJ is eating them so…
Is U-pick Still Available?
If picking your own apples is a part of your plan and the main reason you’re making a trip to the orchard, make sure it’s still an option. We took a trip to, Sky Top Orchard, the same orchard we visited last year around the same time or year, only to get there and find their U-pick season was over! They had bags and bags of already picked apples, but we couldn’t pick them ourselves. We were flexible and able to go to Justus Orchard about 30 minutes away. If time is not on your side, don’t be like us, check the orchard’s website or social media first.
Should I Leave the Orchard Without Apple Cider Doughnuts?
NO! Don’t get so caught up in apple picking that you forget the star of the orchard. If read that and said the apples are the star, that means you haven’t gotten your entire life and had apple cider doughnuts. These doughnuts reign supreme at apple orchards with apple cider slushies coming in at a close second! If you go to an orchard on a busy weekend, be prepared to stand in long lines for the doughnuts. However, it will be worth every bee dodging minute (bees run rampant at orchards, watch out). Make sure you get enough doughnuts to eat right then and there hot out the grease and to take home! Thank me later.
Are you planning an apple picking trip this season?