Whether you prefer baking or just plain slicing ‘em, apples are back in season and Washington State’s u-pick orchards are beginning to open for business. We’ve rounded up 10 orchards near (and not-so-near) Seattle that offer pick-your-own apples and a handful more that host tours and festivals to celebrate the harvest. Grab your bushel bags and read on for our picks.
photo: Kalyn Gustafson
Apple Creek Orchard
Starting the first week of October, Apple Creek Orchard will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for pick-your-own Jonagold, Mutsu and Snowsweet apples for $15 per 5 gallon bucket or $.75/pound for Jonagold apples. The farm provides buckets and carts, but remember to bring boxes to transport the fruit of your labors home.
5367 Barr Rd.
Ferndale, Wa 98248
Online: applecreekorchard.com or on Facebook
Jones Creek Farms
Jones Creek Farms offers u-pick apples from September to November. This year’s annual Harvest Festival will be taking a hiatus, but you can still enjoy the popular hay rides every Sunday in October.
32260 Burrese Rd.
Sedro Woolley, Wa 98284
photo: Apple Creek Orchards
The Farm at Swan’s Trail
The Farm at Swan’s Trail in Snohomish includes an acre of Jonagold and Honeycrisp apple trees. You can take the kids on a wagon ride out to the u-pick orchard. But the season only lasts for a few weeks, so be sure to call before you go. Good to know: The orchard’s Honeycrisp apples begin to ripen in early September.
7301 Rivershore Rd.
Snohomish, Wa 98290
Online: thefarm1.com or on Facebook
BelleWood Acres is a working farm that offers pick-your-own apples in one of the largest apple orchards in western Washington. They also offer tours for families aboard the Apple Bin Express and lessons for kids on best practices for picking. Watch the packing line, visit the cider press and peek into the bakery, then stop in the on-site store and bring some apple goodies home with you. Choose from 20 delicious apple varieties including Jonagold, Sansa, HoneyCrisp and Golden Supreme. Harvest season begins in late August and runs through early November; check their ripening calendar for more details.
6140 Guide Meridian Dr.
Bellingham, Wa 98264
Online: bellewoodapples.com or on Facebook
photo: BelleWood Acres – Apples and Apple Cider Facebook page
Lattin’s Country Cider Mill and Farm
If the kiddos are craving fresh cider, look no further than Lattin’s Country Mill. Lattin’s is open year-round and holds an Apple Festival every weekend in October with games, a maze and demonstrations for the whole fam. While they don’t offer U-pick, you can sample the farm’s award-winning cider, visit with animals, and bring home a pie or two.
9402 Rich Rd. S.E.
Olympia, Wa 98501
Online: lattinscider.com or on Facebook
Wilson Banner Ranch
Wilson Banner Ranch uses natural growing practices and has apples, apricots, blackberries, cherries, cucumbers, flowers, nectarines, pears, peaches, plums, pumpkins, tomatoes, honey from hives on the farm and a cider mill! Are you excited yet? They also have a petting zoo. This farm is well worth the drive and is open on Fridays and Saturdays.
16397 Highway 12
Clarkston, Wa 99403
Online: wilsonbannerranch.com or on Facebook
photo: Tim & Selena Middleton via Flickr
Open daily through October, Stutzman Ranch is a fourth generation orchard and farm stand in Wenatchee. Galas are ready to pick first, with Fuji following in mid-September. Remember that Stutzman Ranch is cash-only and staff suggests that pickers wear closed-toe shoes and leave pets at home.
2226 Easy St.
Wenatchee, Wa 98801
This family owned and operated orchard has been in business since 1904, offering several varieties of cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines, pears, plums and apples. U-pick apples (including Gala) are available August through December, but call ahead to check which varieties are available before you make the trip. Fruit is sold by the pound, box or bin; gift boxes are available in season.
4906 Summitview Ave.
photo: Dean Michaud via Flickr
Becerra Gardens is a great place to grab lunch: You can get most of what you need right there. Becerra grows asparagus, cucumbers, flowers, herbs, melons, peppers, pumpkins, winter squash, tomatoes and some already-picked produce. There’s also a picnic area and a concessions/refreshment stand. And starting on Saturdays and Sundays in October, you can enjoy the mazes, games, pumpkin painting and activities.
9074 Rd. K N.W.
Online: becerragardens.com and on Facebook
High Country Orchard
Green Bluff High Country Orchard is stocked with pre-picked cherries, peaches, raspberries, apricots, pears and apples. You’ll also find a country store with gifts and antiques. Save room for something sweet, the orchard serves fresh baked pies, pastries and ice cream. And starting in late September, enjoy the orchard’s annual Apple Festival offering a large variety of cooking apples, fresh pressed cider and other produce as well as live music, craft booths, corn and straw mazes, pony rides and more.
8518 E. Green Bluff Rd.
photo: BelleWood Acres
If you aren’t up for the long drive or have limited apple picking opportunities, another way to celebrate the harvest is to find someone in your neighborhood with an unpicked tree and offer to do the picking. Local neighborhood Yahoo groups, Craigslist and Freecycle are great places to look for offers of fruit or to post your request. But please make sure you know what you are doing before climbing any ladders!
And if you want to make a weekend of it, Wenatchee – the “Apple Capital of the World” – is a mere three-hour drive from Seattle. Check the Pick-Your-Own website for places to go, and always call ahead to make sure your visit coincides with pickin’ time.
— Sara Billups, Kristina Moy & Karen McHegg