The first day of autumn starts Saturday and if a day at the orchard is not already a family tradition in your home, this year may be the perfect time to make it one. A day of apple picking, cider sipping and idyllic picture posing is a great way to welcome in the new season.
As you choose from the many varieties of apples consider not only taste, but also hardiness and remember that different varieties come into season at different times.
Fuji are the best apples if you’ve got limited refrigerator space because you can store Fujis in your basement or your garage. They are slow to ripen so are best picked mid to late October. On the other end of the apple spectrum are the Gala apples. Great for pies, sauces, eating and baking, they will only last a few weeks and need to be refrigerated. Because they ripen so early, they are at their prime from mid August to early September.
If you’re looking for good September apple picking, your best bets are: Macintosh, Honeycrisp, Jonathan, Golden Delicious, Jonalicious, Cortland and Red Delicious. Want to make a superb apple pie? Go for the hard York apples because they’ll keep their shape in pies.
Below is a list of local farms and orchards, which offer pick-you-own apples. Patch recommends you call ahead to be sure the apples you’re hoping to enjoy are ready or still available.
Great Country Farms, Bluemont, Va.
18780 Foggy Bottom Road
Bluemont VA 20135
Apples are a full two weeks early this year. The farm market is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Upick is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Last hayride to you pick is at 5 p.m.
Crooked Run Orchard, Purcellville, Va.
Phone: (540) 338-6642
37883 E. Main Street
Purcellville, VA 20132
This is an automated phone line that will have the latest picking information. They are open weekends only, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. and have a wide variety of apples and pears for eating or canning.