Looking for Apple Picking Tips in 2020? Scroll down this page and follow the links. And if you bring home some fruit or vegetables and want to can, freeze, make jam, salsa or pickles, see this page for simple, reliable, illustrated canning, freezing or preserving directions. There are plenty of other related resources, click on the resources dropdown above.
Notes for April 2020: Spring is here! Strawberry season started in February in Florida, Texas, southern California; then starts in March along the Gulf coast, April in the Deep South and west coast, May through much of the country, and June in northern areas. Blueberries are next, about a month later. Of course, cool weather crops, like Rhubarb, asparagus and greens should be available almost everywhere. Check your area's copy calendar (see this page) and call your local farms for seasonal updates.
Now, more than ever, going to a farm, being outside, away from crowds, getting fresh, local produce, makes more sense than ever before! It's a fun, safe
and educational to pick some fresh strawberries, blueberries and more, then come back here to learn how to freeze, can, make jam, salsa and much more!
Of course, check with the farm before you go, both to check on crop availability
and make sure that they're open, given rapidly changing state requirements for
businesses and people due to Coronavirus.
It's likely that many Easter Egg Hunts will be cancelled, but check on our companion website to find a local Easter Egg hunt!
Children's Consignment Sales occur in both the Spring and Fall See our companion website to find a local community or church kid's consignment sale!
We also have easy home canning, jam and jelly making, preserving, drying and freezing directions. You can access recipes and other resources from the drop down menus at the top of the page or the site search. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to write me! It is easy to make your own ice cream, even gelato, or low fat or low sugar ice cream - see this page. Also note, there are many copycat website listing U-pick farms now. They have all copied their information from here and usually do not ever update. Since 2002, I've been updating the information every day but Christmas; so if you see anything wrong or outdated, please write me!
Apples are one of the easiest fruit to pick and use. They're big, not easily bruised, most varieties store well, they can be eaten fresh, cooked, canned, frozen and made into many tasty and healthy dishes. Apples are fat-free, low sodium, and cholesterol-free. A bushel weighs between 42 and 48 lbs. And if you're looking for many, many facts about apples, see this page!
Most modern apple orchards have dwarf trees that are very close to the ground - my 3 year old finds it easy to pick apples! (photo above and below)
Select firm, bruise-free apples. The color can be anything from dark green, to yellow, pink, orange, bright red, dark red or even a combination. It all depends on the variety. And color is not really how you tell when an apple is ripe. Apples should be crisp and firm.
The key will be to ask the farmer which are ripe. He will know because it is calculated from the number of days since the trees flowered. And he will track that date carefully , if he's a good apple grower!
The farmer will also know what characteristics to look for in the particular varieties that he is growing.
Apples ripen from the outside of the tree towards the center, so the apples out the outside of the tree will ripen first. Once they are picked, they stop ripening. Picking apples directly from a tree is easy. Roll the apple upwards off the branch and give a little twist; don't pull straight away from the tree. If two apples are joined together at the top, both will come away at the same time. Don't shake the trees or branches. If the apple you are trying to pick drops, (or others on the tree) go ahead and pick it up. They're perfectly fine! But do wash them before you eat them!
A visitor who grew up on an orchard says to try to leave the stem on the apples. He says that helped them store longer!
You may have read on a website somewhere that you can buy unripe apples and ripen them at home. Nope, not really. See this page for an explanation along with references and links to sources.
Of the apple, that is. You really need to choose the type of apple that is best suited for your purpose. Apples can be suited for eating fresh, cooking, baking, applesauce, storing, etc. I have a fairly extensive guide to apple varieties here!
You should get this much...
Commonly made products
|1 bushel = 12 to 15 qt.
canned applesauce (no sugar added), 14 - 18 with sugar
1 bushel = 10 to 12 qt. juice
||1 quart applesauce||2 pints|
|8 medium apples = 2.25 lbs||1 nine-inch apple pie
3 cups of applesauce
|1 peck = 10 to 14 lbs||1
peck makes = 3 or 4.5 qts.
canned applesauce (no sugar added), 3.3 to 5.5 with sugar
1 peck makes 2.5 to 3.5 qt. juice
I do and it's easy and fast. Apple trees I planted in my yard two years ago are bearing several dozen fruit each this year! Here's a guide to selecting a variety to grow and how!
And a fun tour? Check out Cider Mills.com! They list the cider mills where you can go for a tour (and tasting! yum!)
The U.S. Apple Association's estimate of the size of the 2014 United States apple crop is 263.8 million bushels. The USDA's August 12th estimate was for 259.2 million bushels.