She can’t stand broccoli, but my daughter will eat a bushel of apples without blinking an eye. My fruit loving five-year-old is in heaven this time of year. It’s all about apples and she loves every crunchy, juicy bite of her favorite fruit.
Eating fresh apples is a treat for my daughter, but even more thrilling is getting the chance to pick them from the orchard–all by herself. Our annual family apple picking tradition started shortly after little Jilly Appleseed was born (actually it started while I was pregnant with her), and each year—-without fail-—we head out to our local apple orchard to see who can pick the plumpest, shiniest, and sweetest apples. It’s hands-on fun at its finest.
The orchard we visit is located in Wisconsin and features a host of other kid-friendly attractions including a petting zoo, hay maze, tractor rides and a small bakery that whips up the best apple donuts, pie, cider, and muffins you’ve ever tasted.
Of course, you don’t have to travel to Wisconsin to pick fresh apples. There are hundreds of orchards across the nation, which are ripe for fabulous family fun. Pick a weekend in September or October to visit one of these great apple orchards:
Silverman’s Farm in Easton, Connecticut is hugely popular with New England families. In addition to the leaf peeping and abundant fresh apples, the farm features tractor rides and a 5-acre petting zoo with buffalo, llama and deer.
Applewood Orchards, located in Warwick, New York is a Hudson Valley favorite. Not only can you leave with bags of fresh apples, you can also imbibe in hard apple cider and devour fresh apple pie. The orchard is also home to gardens teeming with free-range chickens and sheep; live music, wagon rides and a country store, which sells apple everything.
Legend has it that President Lincoln used to request fresh York apples from Richard’s Fruit Market in Middleton, Virginia. The Shenandoah Valley is known as the historic heart of the U.S. apple industry, and Richard’s is one of its most popular farms. The place really gets rockin’ during the annual Apple Festival, which takes place this year on October 17th and 18th.
Huber Orchard in Starlight, Indiana caters to the Hoosier State’s locals, plus it’s located just 15 miles northwest of Louisville, Kentucky. The 600-acre farm can accommodate large crowds and keep them entertained too. The orchard includes apple picking as well as miniature battery-powered tractors for kids to drive, pony rides, four mazes, pedal carts and a mountain slide.