Story and Photos by Marjorie Magazine
There’s more than just the crisp air of fall to be had this season. The months of September and October see a burst of bright and sweet apples like a spring bloom, only more flavorful and lasting than any little flower. Apples are a plenty, and for those who can’t get enough of them for fall classics like cider and homemade pies, it’s a wonderful time to be out and about picking! Now a fun tradition enjoyed by young and old, city-dwellers and small-town neighbors alike, apple picking seems less of a laborious chore and more of a time for us in this modern world to appreciate the homegrown and natural beauties around us. For a grand adventure among the orchards, it wouldn’t feel like you’re getting a good harvest without the following tips below to keep tucked in your basket!
First, research your destination. Know how far away farms are from your location, especially if you reside in a more urban area. If your desired farm or ranch is more than 3 hours away, we recommend making it an overnight extravaganza and see if there might be a charming bed & breakfast in a nearby town! Or, thankfully, AirBnB it.
Also, make sure the farm explicitly notes if they are You-Pick. Some farms may grow their own produce complete with orchards, but apples and such might only be available for purchase in their own little store or stand. You-pick ensures that you’re getting the full experience of heading out to their orchards to pick the fruit as you please!
Also, grab a pair of good shoes. Orchards are no smooth sailing! There is more than likely lots of dirt, and even some muddy fields. Rain boots, flat rubber-soled boots, riding, or even duck boots are the way to go!
Here are a few recommendations:
Red Rain Boots, $150 at Hunter Boots
Keds Garden Boot, $89 at ModCloth
Monogrammed Duck Boots, $49 at Marley Lilly
Bring your own basket! Farms may have buckets or bags on-site, but just in case, it’s good to arrive prepared with a rustic or sturdy basket of your own.
Isabella Baskets, $5 each at World Market
Woven Chipwood Apple Bushel Basket, $5.40 at Michael’s
Sea Grass Woven Baskets, $3.65 each at Wish
And have cash ready (in case). Popular farms might have already made the conversion to all digital transactions thanks to tools like Square, but cash is always a good idea when it comes to smaller businesses.
Once there, know what you’re picking. There’s in fact over 100 varieties of apples to pick! But according to the U.S. Apple Association, only 15 popular varieties make up 90% of what’s produced commercially. Mackintosh is great and sweet for baking (the most common type to be found in New England), but others like Red Delicious and Honey Crisp are just perfect for straight-away snacking!
Overwhelmed? You can learn by color, with Granny Smiths being green, Golden Delicious being yellow, Red Delicious a bright red, and Honey Crisp in a tickered striped red/orange. Even better, simply ask the farmers on hand what varieties are grown on the farm, and then go forth!
Get pickin’! There’s always the low-hanging fruit, but don’t be shy of the best apples at the top! Some pickers prefer scouting trees and apples for rot or bruises before they knock ’em down, while others might just revel in the fun of grabbing as many as they can before they sort through them. No matter how low or high your prize may be, farmers will most likely have sturdy fruit pickers on hand.
Now, try some baking! Lastly, what to do with your harvest? Enjoy, of course. But if you want to get creative with your crop besides a few quick bites, searching through Pinterest or trying our your own friends’ and family’s recipes will make for an even more lasting sweet taste in your mouth. Savor the last moments with your apples and invite loved ones over to help in the baking or to share in the delicious dishes that result.
It’s moments like this in the seasons that sure remind us that life is sweet, no pun intended. So savor fall in the best way possible and start a new tradition for yourself with just the touch of a delicious apple or two– or a bushel!
Do you pick apples in the fall? Tell us your favorite spots and traditions in the comments!