Apple Picking Tips

It’s that time of year again – the leaves are turning from summer green to the typical riot of glorious fall colors, temperatures are cooling down, and the autumn-kissed countryside is beckoning you. Get out and enjoy the newly arrived fall season with a day of apple picking!

Whether you go as a romantic outing with your significant other or as a wonderful opportunity to create magical memories with your whole family; apple picking is a fantastic excuse to pile into your car for a few hours of fun at the local orchard. Even better, it’s a wonderful way for the family to bond while learning a little about where your food comes from. Remember to take home some souvenirs of your rural adventure to bring a bit of autumn indoors for weeks to come! Orchards will almost always offer visitors the chance to purchase local folk art, farm-themed knick-knacks, and inexpensive toys that will remind you of the great time you had there.

Here is the rundown on how to make the most of your day out and also some ideas on how to put all those apples you collected to good use!

Do Your Homework

Don’t just jump in the car on the spur of the moment; before you set off to find the perfect orchard – do your homework.

Although apple picking is considered an activity for people of all ages, if you’re bringing young kids you need to consider their physical abilities when looking for the perfect place to enjoy your day trip.

Very young kids may be happier (and safer) with a short visit to a no-frills orchard; a short walk or hayride to the trees then the fun of filling a bag with apples you help them reach. Also, consider bringing a wagon or stroller for little ones who can tire quickly.

But, older children (5 and up) will get into the challenge of bigger trees, a longer stay, and extra activities like corn mazes, apple-slingshots, and tours of the cider-making room.

Almost all orchards have promotional websites that showcase their amenities and special events, and many will happily answer a phone call to explain everything they have to offer and things you need to be aware of for the very young (or very old) visitor.

Keep an Eye on the Forecast

Apple picking is an outdoor activity, and an unexpected downpour will end your plans in a hurry. Keep checking the weather forecast in the days leading up to your trip to the country so as to avoid the disappointment of waking up to inclement weather on the day you’d scheduled.

Fall weather is unpredictable; it can go from pleasantly warm to unexpectedly chill in a hurry – and tromping around collecting apples can be sweaty work, even on a cool day. Dress in layers to protect against a chill but are easily removed when you start to overheat.

Don’t just think about the children’s comfort either — if you know you can’t exert yourself for very long; you should find a smaller orchard to save your feet or one with shorter trees to spare your back.

Come Prepared

Pack a bag with the essentials:

  • Enough water for everybody
  • Tissues
  • Band-aids
  • Anything you know you’ll really miss having if you forgot to pack it!

Don’t forget that a day picking apples is a day outside; restrooms and other amenities may be a long walk away. Plan accordingly.

Bring Your Camera

Yes, I know – duh! A day out picking apples is an event tailor-made for creating the kind of unforgettable memories that last a lifetime. Make sure your phone or camera is fully charged, and you have enough memory free to ensure you’ll always be ready to catch that perfect moment. Even better – bring a backup, just in case.

Forget Your Diet

This isn’t just a day out; it’s a celebration of fall – so celebrate! Any orchard worth visiting will have the full selection of apple-based treats available for sale, in addition to delicious pumpkin pies, donuts, cookies, and gallons of hot apple cider, let loose and give yourself permission to enjoy yourself.

Apple picking, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, is typically a once-a-year event, so throw yourself into it! No one ever regretted spending a day out playing with their loved ones and eating tasty treats.

Fun Ideas for those Apples

After an active day outdoors in the crisp country air, you’re going to bring home a lot of apples; what to do with them? Check out these fun ideas for making the most of your apple windfall!

Apple Printing

This is a brilliant activity for your toddler. You only need three items:

  • A large sheet of paper
  • Some water color paint (finger paints are perfect)
  • Apples

Tape the paper by its corners to a table you don’t mind getting messy, set up the paint in shallow bowls for each color, then slice an apple into wedges, circles, rectangles, and so on. Now sit your child down and let them enjoy dipping the apple pieces into the paint and stamping the paper with a rainbow of colors.

Try Making Apple Dolls

This is a traditional American folk craft – and the finished item can look amazing.

Just peel an apple, carve a face into it (I said it could look amazing, not that it was easy) and let it dry completely. It may take a little practice to get it right, but it’s worth the effort. Your dried apple face end up looking like somebody really old, but that’s the idea. Now just add the appropriate doll body and clothes. You can even carve apple hands and feet for the doll, and connect them to the body when they’ve dried. Apple dolls are pretty durable and can also make great puppets.

Homemade Applesauce

Try this easy recipe for applesauce from New York State Apple Country: You’ll need; 6 cups of apple chunks, ¼ cup sugar, a heavy medium saucepan, and a potato masher.
Peel, core, and chop the apples into small pieces then combine the apple pieces with ¾ cup water and sugar in the heavy medium saucepan. Bring it all to a boil, stirring the mixture occasionally.

Now reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan and cook until the apples are very soft (about 40 minutes). Using the potato masher to mash the apple mixture until it’s at your preferred consistency.

Fall is Special

Fall gets a bad rap for being the end of summer fun in the sun and beach days, but you can turn it into a glorious, sometimes spooky, but always beautiful time to enjoy fun activities with the people you love while taking advantage of the comfortable temps for easy outdoor fun before the first winter blasts roll in.

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George Citroner

GW Citroner is a Hudson Valley, NY based writer whose work has appeared in over 20 publications and on an incredible range of Health & Wellness topics.

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