One of fall’s best farm-to-table foods is the wide variety of apples available right here in the Northwest. Whether you want to spend the day and drive to Mt. Hood or take a quick trip to Sauvie Island, it’s fun to pack up the kids and pick a basket full of sweet apples for making applesauce for the winter or just to pop into lunchboxes. Read on for the six farms we love that offer up orchards of apples ripe for the picking close to home.
photo: davitydave via flickr creative commons
Mountain View Orchards
Ruthie and Lyle have operated their family orchard together for many years. The farm offers a wide array of U-Pick apple varieties, delicious apple pie, hiking, picnicking and free hayrides and visits with animals on the weekends. Join in the reverie of all things apple at their Harvest Fest October 16-18 where they will serve over 15 kinds of applesauce and desserts, while doling out free samples. Don’t miss Ruthie’s applesauce cinnamon rolls and cute farm critters, including Jack the horse, Carlos the steer and two Shetland lambs.
6670 Trout Creek Ridge Rd.
Mt. Hood Parkdale
541-352-6554 or 800-529-6554
photo: vijay chennupati via flickr creative commons
With over 80 varieties of apples (Gala, Gravenstein, Jonathan, McIntosh and King just to name a few) you can truly have “an apple a day” after picking plenty of the healthy fruit in this 150 year-old orchard. The grounds are composed of 26 impressive acres filled with 2,000 fruit trees.
23995 SW Pacific Hwy.
photo: Draper Girls Country Farm Facebook page
In addition to apple picking, kids will delight in Hood River Valley’s only 100% pure, non-pasteurized licensed apple cider mill, a visit with farm animals the likes of llamas, horned sheep, goats, chickens and horses, and their famous cinnamon-sugar dried apples. Open 365 days a year, families will love their U-pick fruit orchard, and picnicking in the farm’s garden which boasts scenic views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams. Call before your trip if you’d like to know which animals will be at the farm when you’d like to visit.
6200 Hwy. 35
Mt. Hood Parkdale
photo: dolanh via flickr creative commons
Bearing fruit since 1911, this large, old-fashioned orchard specifically grows its trees to make them easy to pick without ladders — making it simple for tots to get in on the action. They provide wagons, boxes and bags to pickers, and the breathtaking views of Mt. Hood as well as their play area for children make this a favorite farm for the whole family. Kiyokawa offers a yummy selection of apple varieties so be sure to check the ready dates to find out when your favorites are available for u-pick. Check out their Honeycrisp Harvest, where you can enjoy Honeycrisp caramel apples, applesauce and baked apple treats as well as have a picnic, tour the orchard and take a hayride.
8129 Clear Creek Rd.
photo: Lake Lou via flickr creative commons
Touted as the first orchard to bring the “short orchard” to the Willamette Valley, your little ones can pick Galas, Fuji and Honeycrisps without the use of ladders. U-pick apples go for $1 per pound, but you can also have your pick of pears as well. Picking takes place Thursdays through Saturdays.
24350 SW Farmington Rd.
photo: Morning Shade Farm and Berry Nursery by 52brandnew.com via flickr creative commons
Morning Shade Farm and Berry Nursery
This pictorial, 50-acre farm set off the main road is only open on Saturdays in the fall after Labor Day, but apples, pears, plums and Asian pears still attached to the trees can be picked and purchased for a mere 50 cents per pound. BYO containers, or use their plastic-lined two-gallon buckets to carry your apples around. They also have large jars of honey with the honeycomb still inside for purchase.
8345 S Barnard Rd.
Where does your family go to pick apples? Let us know in the comments section below.