From Farms To Orchards: The Top Places To Pick Apples In America Slideshow

From Farms to Orchards: The Top Places to Pick Apples in America

Whether you're eating, drinking, bobbing, or decorating them, apples are an essential part of kicking off fall. When the first gust of cool air meets your lungs, all you want is fresh, crisp apple dipped in caramel. Luckily, pick-your-own apple farms exist all over the country and usually offer family activities and homemade goodies to make the trip truly worthwhile.

#20 Chileno Valley Ranch, Petaluma, Calif.

Located about 11 miles west of Petaluma, Chileno Valley Ranch has an organic apple orchard featuring new varieties for apple picking. The ranch is open for u-pick apples on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through October. Among the certified organic apples available for u-picking are Orin, Pinova, Molly's Delicious, and Jonathan's Pride. The 600-acre property is operated by Mike and Sally Gale and operates primarily as a cattle ranch, but they also offer plein-air art workshops and wedding services. — CBS San Francisco 

#19 Wilson Banner Ranch, Clarkston, Wash.

This Washington ranch is devoted to using sustainable growing methods and sells peas, onions, lentils, beans, and harvested-on-site honey — in addition to the apples and pears you can pick right off the trees. To see what's in season, visit their website. They also have a fun-filled Harvest Fair during two weekends in October. Look forward to a maze, live music, a petting zoo, local artisans selling their crafts, an obstacle course, and even a pie-eating contest. — Teresa K. Traverse

#18 Weston Antique Apples, New Berlin, Wis.

Wisconsin orchard Weston Antique Apple was established in 1935 and has been providing the surrounding area with historic apple varieties for more than 60 years. One of Weston's missions is to preserve rare apples varieties. According to its website, the Old Church apple is only grown on its grounds. Another standout variety includes the Chenango Strawberry, which both tastes and smells like roses. In keeping with the idea of remembering the past, this orchard is designed to look like a turn-of-the-century farm and has even been added to the National Register of Rural Historic Landscapes. — Teresa K. Traverse

#17 Herman’s Farm, St. Charles, Mo.

Come and get your fill of Honeycrisp, Fuji, Jonathan, or Enterprise varieties of apples. Pick your own, and then choose a tree for $10 to take home and plant — in time, you'll enjoy harvesting your own sweet crunchy fruits. Apple picking begins in September when the crop is ripe. Enjoy the farm all day long, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., every day of the week. — CBS St. Louis

#16 Patterson Fruit Farm, Chesterland, Ohio

On the weekends, hitch a (hay) ride out to this Ohio orchard on a wagon and pick as many apples as you like. To stay up to date on what's hanging on the trees and what would be ideal for baking or eating, check out the farm's nifty chart. If you'd prefer to just buy products off the shelves, head to the on-location Farm Market. There, you can purchase fresh-baked pies and doughnuts, maple syrup, red tart cherries, peaches, apple cider, and, of course, apples. — Teresa K. Traverse

#15 Stribling Orchard, Markham, Va.

Six generations of Striblings have farmed this beautiful land in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The first apple trees were planted in 1765, and some of the current trees date back to 1930. Stribling's 30 acres offer many varieties of the fruit and even house their own beehive to pollinate trees on site. (Honey from the hive can be purchased along with other apple goods at the Harvest House and Bakery.) Apple-picking season runs from mid-August to early November.

#14 Hillcrest Orchards, Ellijay, Ga.

You won't want to miss Hillcrest Orchard's Apple Pickin' Jubilee from September to November.  While apple picking is a given, the jubilee also offers a front row seat to pig races, cow milking, and bee hiving. Plus, it's only a quick hour and a half drive away from Atlanta and Chattanooga, Tennessee. 

#13 Applecrest Farm, Hampton Falls, N.H.

New Hampshire's Applecrest Farm is noted for hosting fall festivals every weekend in September and October. In addition to picking your own apples, raspberries, peaches, and pumpkins, you can also cut your own fresh flowers. Activities abound during these fall weekends. Listen to folk and bluegrass music, participate in or just watch pie-eating contests, make your own scarecrow, visit with animals at the petting zoo, or indulge in one of the 25 locally made ice cream flavors featuring fruit grown on the farm. If you still need more to do, special events here include bike races, a strawberry festival, 5K runs, and even an antique tractor plow day. — Teresa K. Traverse

#12 Champlain Orchards, Shoreham, Vt.

This idyllic Vermont orchard comes complete with a sprawling farm, animals, and sky that goes on for miles (just check out the pictures to see for yourself), and also offers visitors more than 40 varieties of apples prime for picking. Visitors can support local agriculture when they purchase fresh-baked apple pies, hard cider, or plain cider — cranberry-apple is one highlight here — from the on-site bakery and cider mill. Champlain Orchards also occasionally hosts festivals that feature local produce, meat, and a bluegrass band that plays tunes by artists ranging from Flatt & Scruggs to Blondie. — Teresa K. Traverse

#11 Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery, Warwick, N.Y.

Take a tractor ride or walk to Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery's orchard (smack dab in the middle of the Hudson Valley) and enjoy picking from the more than 30 different apple varieties with a glass of wine, sangria, or cider in hand. But the fun doesn't stop there. Visitors also can enjoy tastings of the winery's own wines, ciders, brandies, and liqueur. Every weekend, except when they're hosting a festival, give your ears a treat with live music. And if all that apple-picking and drinking has left you hungry at the end of the day, treat yourself to fresh bread, pizzas, sandwiches, and salads from the on-site Pané Café. — Teresa K. Traverse

#10 Sky Top Orchard, Flat Rock, N.C.

As this North Carolina orchard's name would suggest, it lies on top of Mount McAlpine in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Enjoy panoramic views of the mountains as you pick from more than 22 apple varieties. You can also take a tractor-pulled ride, feed ducks, visit a petting zoo, explore a bamboo forest, and spend time on the playground. If you'd rather exercise your wallet rather than your arms, fresh apples, cider, cider slushies, produce, and fresh-made apple cider doughnuts are available for purchase. — Teresa K. Traverse

#9 Huber’s Orchard, Winery & Vineyards, Borden, Ind.

Huber's farm has been in operation since 1843, but today serves as a community hub for all things family, fresh produce, and homemade goodies. Huber's is open for "u-pick" apple season from August to through October every day of the week. 

#8 Kiyokawa Family Orchards, Parkdale, Ore.

Family-owned and -operated, this orchard is dedicated to using sustainable growth practices and has more than 80 distinct varieties of apples, pears, and Asian pears on its land. Mount Hood provides a scenic backdrop while guests fill their bags with apples. They can also purchase pies, turnovers, local honey, jams, and fresh cider from the on-site fruit stand. On select weekends, the orchard hosts special events, like a Mexican-themed Fiesta Day that includes authentic food, piñatas, and a mariachi band.  — Teresa K. Traverse

#7 Linvilla Orchards, Media, Pa.

A trip to this 300-acre farm is guaranteed fun for the entire family. Spend the day riding ponies, going on a hayride through the orchards, visiting the animals in the barnyard, checking out the passenger train, getting lost in a corn maze, or even fishing in Orchard Lake. Pick-your-own apples runs from early August through the end of November from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, weather and crop selection permitting. There is a $5-per-person minimum charge that goes toward your apple purchase. Visit the weekend of September 27 and 28 for the Apple Festival, hosted by Makin' Music. This two-day event features live music, games, contests, apple tasting demonstrations, an apple pie eating contest, and more. — CBS Philadelphia 

#6 Mill’s Apple Farm, Marine, Ill.

The owners will be the first to tell you that the apples here are probably not as perfectly beautiful in appearance as those you find at a supermarket, but they are usually much more delicious. Better yet, picking apples and spending a day on the farm is the perfect family outing. Expect to find varieties like Empire, Jonagold, Senshu, Red Delicious, and Golden Delicious ripening throughout the month of September. — CBS St. Louis

#5 Masker Orchards, Warwick, N.Y.

If you're looking for a good apple picking spot this year, Masker Orchards, a farm in picturesque Warwick (about 55 miles from Manhattan), has been doing the pick-it-yourself thing since 1972. — CBS New York

It's surprisingly rewarding to pick an apple, polish it and take a big, crunching bite. Masker grows 14 apple varieties that ripen at different times. A general store near the exit at the bottom of the hill sells apple butter, honeycomb, fruit preserves, and other sundries. Another barn sells apple-themed food through a window. — The Daily Meal Staff

#4 BelleWood Acres, Lynden, Wash.

Washington state produces 58 percent of all apples grown in the United States, so it's no wonder they have a few prime places for picking your own apples. From August to October, families are invited to pick from the 25,000 trees of BelleWood Acres set behind the beautiful Mount Baker.

#3 Belkin Family Lookout Farm, Natick, Mass.

This family-friendly farm is open every single day of picking season. Along with filling their bags to the brim with juicy, fresh apples, children are encouraged to interact with farm animals (including baby pigs), climb the hay pyramid, and make their way through the corn maze. 

#2 Eckert’s, Millstadt, Ill.

Apples begin to ripen at this orchard during September. This well-known farm and orchard has three locations to choose from when you're ready for some apple-picking fun. The one located in Millstadt is just across the river and a short drive from south St. Louis. — CBS St. Louis

#1 Lawrence Farms Orchards, Newburgh, N.Y.

Lawrence Farms Orchards is just one of the many beautiful apple orchards in the in Orange County, New York. From mid-August to October, the Hudson River Valley is abloom with apples along with other fresh produce. They even have an Apple Festival to celebrate the literal fruits of the community. This year's festival is September 19.