There’s no better fall tradition than apple picking. The crisp, delicious apple varieties ripen between August and October and Southern California families flock to the orchards for fresh apples, cider, and autumn family traditions. Here’s a list of some of the best places to go for picking apples.
Apple Starr Orchards
1020 Julian Orchard Drive, Julian, CA 92036
Apple Starr Orchards is open on weekends during apple season for u-pick apples and pears. Apple Starr Orchards is a Certified Organic Grower. There are approximately 1000 trees covering eight acres, many with low hanging branches offering easy access for children.
Julian Farm & Orchard
4444 State Hwy 78 Julian/Wynola, CA 92036
Open September 18 – October 31
Saturdays & Sundays and select Fridays Only
Julian Farm & Orchard by the Julian Mining Company has 2,000 berry plants, 1,500 apple trees and three acres of pumpkins planted for u-pick activities. Fall at the farm includes hayrides, cider pressing, farm animals, axe throwing, archery, berry picking, pumpkin patch, and limited apple picking. All activities are available on weekends from September through October. Visitors may also participate in butter making, apple pie making demonstrations, and candle dipping.
Riley’s Apple Farm
12201 S Oak Glen Road, Yucaipa, CA 92399
The Original Riley’s Apple Farm in Oak Glen is one of the most popular apple picking destinations. They offer apple picking from August through October. They also offer cider pressing on weekends from September through November. Riley’s partners with Stone Soup Farm, a 130 year old heirloom apple orchard, to offer a variety of u-pick opportunities and additional activities for the whole family to enjoy including kids crafts, panning for gemstones, shopping at the marketplace, and more.
Riley’s Los Rios Rancho
39611 Oak Glen Road, Yucaipa, CA 92399
Established in 1906, Riley’s Los Rios Rancho offers apple picking from Labor Day through Thanksgiving. Some of the apple varieties available for u-pick include Macintosh, Pearmain, Spartan, & Gala. There are also raspberries and strawberries available. In addition to apple picking, visitors can enjoy living history field trips, delicious food, freshly baked treats, crafts, nature trails, dances, and more.
Willowbrook Apple Farm
12099 Oak Glen Road, Oak Glen, CA 92399
Willowbrook Apple Farm opens for u-pick apple picking on Labor Day weekend and runs every weekend through the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Visitors can also enjoy apple cider, caramel apples, fresh organically grown seasonal berries, and mingling with the farm animals. Willowbrook farm was planted in 1910 and is a family owned orchard.
Bonus: Underwood Family Farms
Moorpark Farm Center
3370 Sunset Valley Road, Moorpark, CA
Somis Farm Center
5696 E. Los Angeles Ave, Somis, CA
Both farms are open year round
This farm doesn’t offer apple picking but they offer a variety of Pick Your Own (PYO) fruits and vegetables year round. Located about ninety minutes from Orange County the options and varieties are endless on what you can pick. Here are a few berries, Roma tomatoes, oranges, onions, radish, spinach, fava beans, flowers, lettuce, carrots, beets, broccoli, cucumbers. PYO isn’t all they offer, these farms have seasonal events, wagon rides, farm tours, farm markets, animal centers and much more.
Smith Farms is another great local option (Irvine & Fountain Valley) for PYO fruits, vegetables and greens.
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Heidi Deal is the author of the Newcomers Handbook to Living In Los Angeles & Orange County, and a children’s book author specializing in history and human rights.