Pumpkin spice may be autumn’s “it” flavor, but for Seattle families it takes a back seat to anything apple. Apple picking is kind of our thing, plus who doesn’t love harvesting crispy fruit fresh off the tree? Whether you’re supplementing your CSA delivery or have big baking dreams, we’ve rounded up eight local (and not-so-local) apple orchards that are bushels of fun for the whole fam.
Editor’s note: Please recreate responsibly when visiting these orchards and follow state requirements regarding mask wearing, social distancing and group size.
Close to Home
Head to the Eastside to pick apples at this organic farm. One of six farms on a collective 47-acre property, NW Bloom has apples ripe and ready. They opened for the season on August 22 and expect crispy apples through October 17. Families will need tickets to pick here on Saturdays, from 10 a.m.-noon. The $17 price covers two people (kids under 10 are free) and a five-gallon bucket, ready to be filled. Expect to pick Liberty, Jonagold, Spartan and Golden Russets, in addition to quince before the season is over. Families can also take advantage of windfall apples (you’ll find them on the ground) when they make an additional donation, or purchase an extra five-gallon bucket when you get there for $15 more. They take cash, Venmo and PayPal, so come prepared. They’ll also have other fresh-picked produce (and hopefully some pumpkins in October) available for purchase. Event details.
Pro tip: The early bird gets the good apples at this farm, so show up earlier in the time slot for the best picking.
Covid safety: Face masks will be required for pickers. Please practice social distancing when you visit.
15410 N.E. 124th St.
The Farm at Swan's Trail
The Farm at Swan's Trail in Snohomish includes five acres of apple trees, and although the U-pick season will look a bit different this year, it’s still on. Expect the orchard's Honeycrisp apples around mid-September, followed by the Jonagolds later in the month (they’re great for home-baked treats, like apple pies and apple dumplings). Apples are priced at $3/pound and the farm will have containers available for families to use while picking. U-pick hours are still being determined, but check the website or Facebook for updates. Event details.
During the month of October, The Farm at Swan's Trail is a popular destination for families because of all their great fall activities. This year, you’ll still be able to wander through their Washington state shaped corn maze, get apple cider donuts and watch apples squeezed through their pre-WWII cider mill turn into fresh cider. Their pumpkin patch will be open starting September 26. Event details.
Covid safety: When you visit, be sure to bring and wear your mask and stay socially distant on the farm. They’ll also have out plenty of hand sanitizing stations for guests to use.
Jones Creek Farms
Jones Creek Farms offers more than 50 varieties of u-pick apples from August to October. The 2020 apple picking season kicked off the weekend of August 14 and is likely to go through the end of October, but we suggest viewing their harvest calendar online before you go. U-pick apples are $1.50/pound or $1.25/pound when you purchase 20 or more pounds. Purchase over a 100 pounds and pay just $1 per pound. Shoot Les an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will be happy to answer all your questions. The farm is open Fridays through Mondays, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and even though apples are their specialty, you can also pick pears, peaches, plums and pumpkins, too. Check their info page for daily updates. Event details.
Covid safety: Visitors are required to wear masks at all times, and two warm water and soap stations have been set up near the barn and orchard entrance. You’ll also find hand sanitizing stations at strategic locations around the farm. Find additional safety information online.
32260 Burrese Rd.
Sedro Woolley, WA
Bellewood Farms is a working farm that offers pick-your-own apples in one of the largest apple orchards in western Washington (it's a whopping 25,000 tree orchard!). They’re scheduled to open Labor Day weekend when Tsugaru’s are ripe for picking. They offer free rides for families aboard the Apple Bin train (which stops at trees that are ready for picking), and a chance to learn about Whatcom county’s agriculture in the corn maze. You can also enjoy cider donuts, fresh apple cider and all-American apple pies served at the café and outdoor concession stand (donuts and kettle corn are only available on weekends). Visit the farm Wednesdays through Sundays, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. through October, and check their Facebook page for the harvest schedule. Apples are $13.97 for a five-pound basket and $67.97 for a 25-pound bag. Event details.
Covid safety: Please remember to wear masks, stick to your immediate group and socially distance when you pick apples here. You can find out what other precautions are being taken online.
Curran Apple Orchard
One of Tacoma’s best kept secrets is the Curran Apple Orchard in University Place. This seven-acre community garden offers free apple picking for all starting August 31. You’ll find more than 200 trees with 15 different varities of apples, so bring your buckets and get them while you can. Just remember to pick apples from the unmarked trees only (the ones with signs are harvested by donors), and be aware that bathrooms at the park are currently closed.
3920 Grandview Dr. W.
University Place, WA
Apple Creek Orchard
Apple Creek Orchard won’t be opening the farm for U-pick this year in an effort to keep everyone safe. Instead, they’ll have pre-picked boxes available starting in October. Each 25-pound box will cost $15, and you can order yours by calling 360-384-0915.
5367 Barr Rd.
Online: find them on Facebook
Worth the Drive
West Valley U-Pick
West Valley offers a wide selection of naturally grown berries and tree fruit available for U-pick as well as pre-picked. The farm is open seven days a week, Mondays through Saturdays, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sundays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. In addition to their delish apples—they’ve got Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp and Blondee—families can pick pluots, pears, blueberries, eggplant, tomatillos, tomatoes, zucchini and more. Apples are just $.85/pound. Fruit is first come, first served and dogs are welcome. The farm is also a great spot to enjoy a picnic (or some of those tasty apples you just picked), so feel free to bring a blanket and provisions to enjoy your time on the farm. Remember to check out the cider press when you’re there too! Event details.
Covid safety: Please remember to wear your mask when you pick here. Social distancing should be easy too since there’s plenty of space on this family-owned farm.
Stutzman Ranch is a fourth generation orchard and farm stand in Wenatchee, open daily, from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., through the end of September. It’s a spot where families can pick all kinds of apples (think: Gala, Fuji and Golden Delicious), as well as other seasonal fruits like Barlett and Asian pears, pluots and grapes. Although they haven’t been allowed in the past, families can bring small wagons or carts to help carry out the u-pick boxes being used this year (strollers are still a no-no). The folks at Stutzman Ranch also suggest that pickers wear closed-toe shoes, appropriate clothing and leave pets at home, please. There’s a $5 picking minimum (paid when you leave) to enter the orchard for anyone over 12 years of age. That means families will need to pick about eight pounds of apples for each person to cover the entry fee. But you can do that in no time! Get all the details and per pound fruit pricing online before you go. Event details.
2226 Easy St.
If you're heading to Yakima to get your gorgeous apples, be sure to check out High Country Orchard in Colbert and Krueger Pepper Garden in Wapato. Although neither has apples to pick this year, they offer other fresh fruit and veggie picking experiences. At High Country Orchard you can pick peaches till your heart's content, and Krueger has over 50 different varieties of peppers (including famed ghost peppers!), in addition to melons, winter onions, garlic, eggplant, squash and tomatoes. An easy way to enjoy fall's harvest bounty!
Good to know: 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 Facebook 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!
—Allison Sutcliffe, Kristina Moy & Sara Billups