Autumn is around the corner, and some of our favorite seasonal foods will soon be ripe for the pickin’! Apple season peaks in the Bay Area in September and October, so many local orchards will soon open their doors for “U Pick,” when people can visit and pick their own apples. Before heading out the door, consider calling ahead for the latest info about current restrictions, wildfire risks, hours, and more. These are all working farms which may be subject to changing schedules.
1. Chileno Valley Ranch (Petaluma)
This Petaluma ranch grows varieties including Orin, Pinova, Candy Crisp, and Jonagold, but there are over 20 varieties growing throughout the season. You can also join a farm tour or take home some organic grass-fed beef and other products including honey, jam, cheese, free-range eggs, and more.
- 2022 U Pick schedule: Sundays from 9am-1pm in September and October. New slots will open for reservations on Mondays at 9am, but you can try your luck without a reservation on the half hour. Admission is $10 per family with a reservation, and $12 per family without. Apples cost $2 per pound.
- Contact: Join the newsletter for updates about U Pick reservations, or call (707) 765-6664
2. Apple-A-Day Ratzlaff Ranch (Sebastopol)
Apple-A-Day has Gravenstein, Roman Beauties, and Golden Delicious available in addition to popcorn, apple bread, cider, and more treats.
- 2022 U Pick schedule (to be updated): U Pick 2022 will begin in mid-September. Las year it was available by appointment only, with a $10 reservation fee credited toward your final purchase of apples and other treats. Each round of picking costs $2.
- Contact: call (707) 823-0538 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
3. EARTHseed Farm (Sebastopol)
This beautiful farm has several apple varieties to choose from, including Golden Delicious, Gala, Braeburn, Fuji, and Rome.
- 2022 U Pick schedule: Saturdays from 11am-3pm, slots open up to reserve on the Tuesday beforehand. There is a non-refundable entry fee of $25 per group. Start date TBA.
- Contact: via this form, call (707) 829-0617 or email email@example.com.
4. Gizdich Ranch (Watsonville)
This charming ranch south of Santa Cruz offers a variety of U Pick opportunities throughout the year including strawberries, olallie berries, and boysenberries. Apple selection includes Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Pippin, and Fuji. Their pie shop is also a must – you can enjoy pie by the slice or take one home freshly baked.
- 2022 U Pick schedule Weekends only from 9am-5pm. Be sure to arrive before 4 to give yourself plenty of U Pick time. Apples are $1.94 a pound and there is no reservation or entry fee.
- Contact: call (831) 722-1056.
5. Clearview Orchards (Watsonville)
Clearview Orchards grows organic Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp, and Mutsu apples. They also sell fresh apple juice, local honey, lavender goods, apple butter, and their famous “apple popsicles.”
- 2022 U Pick schedule: U Pick runs from September 3 through (tentatively) October 30. It is available on weekends with a reservation, which you can make here. A $5 ticket will cover 1 vehicle and an hour of apple picking for up to 8 people.
- Contact: email firstname.lastname@example.org or message them on Facebook.
6. Live Earth Farm (Watsonville)
Live Earth Farm has a variety of produce available for U-Pick, including apples, strawberries, blackberries, and tomatoes. The more produce you pick, the more of a discount you’ll get. Current apple varieties are Gala and Fuji, but there will be more through the season.
- 2022 U Pick schedule: Saturdays and Sundays now through the end of October. Prices are $10 per car and $1.50 per pound of apples.
- Contact: call (831) 763-2448 or email email@example.com.
7. Luz del Valle (Corralitos)
This Corralitos ranch grows over 20 varieties of apples, many of which go into Martinelli’s ciders and juices. Most U Pick varieties are Fuji and Gala. You can also admire the ranch’s beautiful Arabian horses or even take a horse-drawn carriage ride.
- 2022 U Pick schedule: Wednesday-Saturday through October. Tickets are $12 per adult and include 1 pound of apples per adult. Children 12 and under can pick for free.
- Contact: call (831) 607-9832
8. Lucky You Orchards
Get a real-life apple harvest experience at this organic Ripon farm run by the Chinchiolo family. Guests can enjoy a free tractor ride on their way to pick crisp Fuji apples, and Lucky You Orchards will even pass along some recipe recommendations.
- 2022 U Pick schedule: Saturdays and Sundays through October, 9am-3pm. Apples are $2.99 a pound.
- Contact: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (209) 404-6078
Bonus: Apple Hill Region (Ripon)
This is not one apple orchard, but rather an entire region in the Sierra Nevada Foothills with dozens of farms that are part of the Apple Hill Growers Association. If you’re willing to drive a little further, it’s a great place to check out for everything from U Pick apples, to pumpkin patches, Christmas tree farms, wineries, B&Bs, and more. The area has been affected by wildfires, so call beforehand or check the respective orchard’s social media for updates.
Want to enjoy fresh apples but can’t make it to the orchard? Consider visiting a farmers’ market!
Check out our list of 10 bountiful farmers’ markets to visit this weekend.
Featured image: Photo by Liana Mikah on Unsplash