DSC_0631A is for Apple Season

Is there a better way to eat locally, spend time with the kids, and enjoy the outdoors than apple picking? (Not to mention it will only cost you about $2 a pound.) It may be a warm autumn in the Bay Area, but that shouldn’t keep you from sipping hot mulled cider and baking apple pies!

If eating organic is important to your family, head to Gabriel Farms (located in Sebastopol, a town practically synonymous with the fruit) where you’ll get a tour of the certified organic orchard in addition to the opportunity to pick your own apples through mid-November.

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Petaluma’s scenic Chileno Valley Ranch also offers organic varieties such as Orin, Pinova, Molly’s Delicious, and Jonathan’s Pride until the end of October.  Round out your apple visit by taking home some of the farm’s natural grass-fed beef. , for a regular fall feast.

You’ll get no better selection than in the Apple Hill Region, about fifty miles east of Sacramento.  With 37 orchards offering different apple varieties and activities, you are bound to find the perfect experience for the kids.  The Apple Hill Growers Association lists orchard details including U-pick hours, picnic areas, local attractions, and more.

Wherever you end up, make sure to come home with a haul big enough to keep “an apple a day” going for weeks.

Gabriel Farms, 3175 Sullivan Rd., Sebastopol, (707) 829-0617, http://www.gabrielfarm.com

(Open 10-3 Saturdays and Sundays, by Appointment on Weekdays)

Chileno Valley Ranch, 5105 Chileno Valley Rd., Petaluma, (707) 765-6664

(Call Ahead – by Appointment Only)

Apple Hill Growers Association, (530) 644-7692, http://www.applehill.com

—Sarah K. Choi