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Apple U-Pick Orchards in east-central Iowa in 2024, by county

Below are the U-Pick orchards and farms for apples that we know of in this area. Not all areas of any state, nor even every state, have apples orchards that are open to the public. If you know of any others, please tell us using the add a farm form!

Remember to always check with the farm's own website or Facebook page before you go - or call or email them if they don't have a website or Facebook page. Conditions at the farms and crops can change literally overnight, so if you want to avoid a wasted trip out there - check with the farm directly before you go! If I cannot reach them, I DON'T GO!

PLEASE report closed farms, broken links and incorrect info using the "Report Corrections" form below.

Benton County

  • K & K Ranch - Uses natural growing practices, apples, broccoli, carrots, cherries, corn (sweet), cucumbers, kale, melons, peppers, plums, raspberries (red), raspberries (black), raspberries (Spring, black), summer squash, winter squash, strawberries, tomatoes, Turkeys (organic, not-hormone-fed), Fresh eggs, U-pick and already picked
    5488 33rd Ave, Center Point, IA 52213. Phone: (319) 929-3736. Email: Open: Call ahead. Click here for a map and directions. Payment: Cash, Check, Venmo. . Alternate Phone: (319) 929-3297. . Get off interstate and head east, take your first right turn at the big rooster. First house on the left. We use natural practices, but are not yet certified Organic. (ADDED: January 17, 2021)

Jackson County

  • Gravert's Apple Basket Orchard - apples, cherries, Cider mill fresh apple cider made on the premises, gift shop, porta-potties are available, picnic area, farm animals, school tours
    54757 Highway 52, Sabula, IA 52070. Phone: 563-687-2298. Email: Open: call or see their website. Directions: Seven miles north of Sabula on Highway 52. Forty miles south of Dubuque on Highway 52. . Click here for a map and directions. Payment: Cash, only. . PYO tart cherries available in late June. Call for specific dates and times.

Johnson County

  • Orchard on Sand Road - No pesticides are used, apples, blueberries, strawberries, Fresh eggs, gift shop, porta-potties
    5888 Sand Road Se, Lone Tree, IA 52755. Phone: (319) 721-1532. Email: Directions: From Iowa City, drive south on S. Gilbert Street /Sand Road. The farm is approximately 8 miles south of Iowa City. Once you cross a four-way stop and a bridge, look for signs on the left. We do not use pesticides on the . Click here for a map and directions. Payment: Cash, Check, Debit cards, Visa, MasterCard. . UPDATE for 2020, The farm was sold - we're waiting to hear from the new owners - if you know anything about it, please write me! The Orchard was sold last year, and the new owners are not opening it for picking, at least for 2020. crops. New in 2018, day-long summer camps integrating tech+nature for those in 4th grade and up. (UPDATED: March 22, 2018) (added back after being closed last year)
  • Wilson's Orchard - apples, pumpkins, Honey from hives on the farm, Cider mill fresh apple cider made on the premises, gift shop, concessions \\/ refreshment stand, restrooms, picnic area, birthday parties, weddings and wedding parties, school tours
    4823 Dingleberry Road NE, Iowa City, IA 52240. Phone: 319-354-5651. Email: Open: daily August through October; August and September hours are 10 am to 7 pm; October hours are 10 am to 6 pm. Directions: 2 miles north of I-80 (Exit 246) on Highway 1, then 1 mile east on Dingleberry Road. . Click here for a map and directions. Payment: Cash, Check, Debit cards, Visa, MasterCard.
    Wilson's Orchard Facebook page. . Alternate Phone: 319-541-7682. .

Linn County

  • The Big Apple Orchard - apples, gift shop, concessions \\/ refreshment stand, restrooms, picnic area, birthday parties, weddings and wedding parties, school tours, group reservations
    1117 Highway 30 W, Mount Vernon, IA 52314. Phone: 319-361-7692. Email: Open: Friday from 3 to 6pm; Saturday from 10am to 6pm; Sunday from 11am to 6pm, September 1 to October 31. Directions: Located 2 miles west of Mount Vernon IA and 3/4 mile east of Palisades State Park on north side of Highway 30. . Click here for a map and directions. Payment: Cash, Check. . Alternate Phone: 319-361-7691. . Apples, pumpkins, honey from local hives, fresh apple cider pressed locally, bakery and ice cream, gift shop, picnic area, birthday parties, wedding and graduation parties, and school tours.


Apple Picking Tips, Recipes and Information

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! More info: How to tell when apples are ripe

  • Once picked, don't throw the apples into the baskets, place them in gently, or they will bruise and go bad more quickly.
  • Don't wash apples until just before using to prevent spoilage.
  • For an explanation of why apple slices turn brown and how to stop it, see this page!
  • Keep apples cool after picking to increase shelf life.  A cool basement is ideal, but the fruit/vegetable drawer of a refrigerator will work, too.  A refrigerator is fine for small quantities of apples. Boxed apples need to be kept in a cool, dark spot where they won't freeze. Freezing ruptures all of an apple's cells, turning it into one large bruise overnight. The usual solution is to store apples in a root cellar. But root cellars often have potatoes in them: apples and potatoes should never be stored in the same room because, as they age, potatoes release an otherwise ethylene gas, which makes apples spoil faster. If you can keep the gas away from your apples, they will keep just fine. Just don't store them right next to potatoes.
    Prevent contact between apples stored for the winter by wrapping them individually in sheets of newspaper. The easiest way to do this is to unfold a section of newspaper all the way and tear it into quarters. Then stack the wrapped apples . See more here: How to store apples at home
  • Apples don't improve or "ripen" after being picked - this is an urban myth - see this page for the truth - with references!

Which apple variety is best?

There are tens of thousands of varieties of apples, developed over centuries. They vary in sugar, acoidity, flavors, storing, crispness and many other attributes. See our guides to apple varieties:

Canning apples - fully illustrated, with step-by-step instructions

Recipes, illustrated with step by step instructions

Using fresh apples and miscellaneous


Other Local Farm Products (Honey, Horses, Milk, Meat, Eggs, Etc.)
(NOT pick-your-own, unless they are also listed above)