Apple Picking for Chicagoans

School is back in session, I am sleeping the windows open at night….my favorite time of year is arriving.  Time to bust out the skinny jeans, pumpkin spice lattes, and head to some wonderful local farms to go apple picking…and I know I’m not the only one with apples on my mind. I’ve narrowed down the absolute BEST apple picking spots for Chicagoans and given some tips on what kind of activities (and prices!) you can expect to make the most out of your yearly trek to the apple orchard.

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APPLE PICKING TIPS

*It is always a good idea to go EARLY in the season if you want to have the best selection of apples.  Most of the orchards have an opening apple weekend Labor Day..

*Check and see how the weather is before you leave the city limits.  Because after all, Chicago weather can be a bit crazy and you don’t want to make the long trek just to find that the apple orchard is closed due to inclement weather.

*Dress in layers.  Although the air may be cool, the sun can be hot, especially when sitting on a hay ride or picking in the orchards.  Pack some sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses too.

*Have a baby?  Ditch the stroller and baby wear instead.  There aren’t many smooth paved trails at any orchards so your best bet is to strap baby on to you for fun and snuggles.

*Wear sensible shoes!  Yes, I know everyone wants to post cute pictures to Instagram and Facebook…but wearing heeled shoes in the orchards is NOT a good idea.  You will get stuck in the mud and your shoes will be ruined.  No fun for anyone.

*Go early.  And by early, I mean in the morning.  Lots of these orchards tend to get very busy on weekend afternoons. And when the Bears AREN’T playing on a Sunday? Expect H U G E crowds.

*If you are a Macintosh lover like me, go picking SOON!  The first two or three weeks in September is best for them.

*BRING CASH! Many of the more low key farms are cash only, so plan accordingly! I mean, are you going to find an ATM next to an apple tree? Probably not.

APPLE PICKING SPOTS

 

ILLINOIS

All Seasons Orchard

14510 IL Route 176

Price–$$$

In addition to apple picking, there are barn yard activities including a corn maze, jumping pillow, petting zoo and more! My favorite element: a clean and air conditioned spot for eating a delicious lunch.

 

Edwards Apple Orchard

7061 Centerville Road, Poplar Grove, IL

Price-$$

You can get a full experience of apple picking and other Fall festivities for the lowest price at Edwards. Enjoy free admission to the orchard, as well as a variety of activities for kids old and young.

 

Heinz Orchard

1050 Crest Road, Green Oaks, IL

Price-$

Enjoy a rustic apple picking experience here at a great price! There are no activities other than apple picking and they are only open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Perfect spot for a no frills apple picking experience.

 

Jonamac Apple Orchard

19412 Shabbona Road, Malta, IL

Price-$$

Apples, donuts….and WINE. Yes, you read that correctly. They have wine tastings! Another favorite part of Jonamac? The family pack for $32 that includes all activities and oh so much family Fall fun.

 

Royal Oak Farm

15908 Hebran Road, Howard, IL

Price-$$

Take advantage of their u pick orchards, as well as their country restaurant, bakery and market, carousel, and petting zoo. Not open on Sundays in November.

INDIANA

County Line Orchard

200 South County Line Road, Hobart, IN

Price-$$

In addition to apple picking, enjoy treats and the kid’s farm, which includes attractions such as a pumpkin eating dinosaur, train and much more! Oh, and it is officially against the law to go to County Line without enjoying one of their apple cider donuts.

WISCONSIN

Apple Holler

500 South Sylvania Avenue, Racine, WI

Price-$$$

Enjoy apple picking, home made treats, as well as a petting zoo and fun activities for the whole family.  There is also a restaurant to enjoy some down home cooking. Go early and expect a crowd!

 

Harvest Time Orchards

36116 128th Street, Twin Lakes, WI

Price-$

This orchard might not have a ton of extra activities that other orchards have, but they make up for that in their wide variety of artisan meats, cheeses, and other amazing apple treats.  Check out the brat and donut shops—delish!

Finally, looking for the perfect way to end your day of apple picking fun?  Then be sure to add this adorable and creative book to your family library.  It is such a cute and creative way to explain to your little one what fun (and delicious) things can result from a day of apple picking. You can also whip up a caramel apple bar with the fruits of your labor!

applepickingBOOKcover

 

Looking for some more Fall fun? Don’t miss out on these great activities!

Enjoy the Apples!
Amanda
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Comments

  1. Amanda Tempel says

    I am so jealous!! I literally JUST got back from a trip to Indiana to visit my family, and I called like 5 different orchards, and could not find one place with apples right now, AHG! It is like a dream for me to go pick some apples!

    We have a lot to pick down here in Florida, but I just really like apples, lol!

    • amandasimkin says

      Labor Day weekend is typically the start of apple picking season in the Midwest. Sorry you couldn’t find one so early on!

  2. Alison says

    We live between two orchards (because that’s all there is in E.WA) so we just walk next door to pick (the neighbor’s don’t care). Even though it’s literlly in our back yard, I get excited every year when harvest rolls around and start planning what I want to make with this years bounty!

  3. Audrey (@Trihardmom) says

    I could not agree with you more about how much I love the fall season!! It has been years since we have lived somewhere that experienced fall at all, so this year, I am buying sweaters and gearing up for pumpkin drinks/foods! We love to pick apples and will definitely check into orchards around us starting this weekend! Thanks for the recommendations.

  4. Jeanette says

    I really miss that about fall. I live where there really is never fall. I would love to go apple picking again. It tastes SO good right off the tree!

  5. Jessica Harlow says

    I can’t wait for apple picking season to get started where I live! Pretty soon! One more tip I can suggest is to head to the pick your own spot in the afternoon after school…we did that last year and it was just us!

  6. Ickle Pickle says

    Oh gosh – I have never been apple picking! I had three trees in my garden, but had them cut down due to disease. In the UK we generally have apples all the time 🙂 Kaz x

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