One of my favourite things to do in the Fall is go apple picking. It feels like I wait all year long to drive out to a farm to pick apples. To me, it seems like the start of getting ready for the cold to come. As long as I have apples, I can make applesauce and apple crisp to get us through the cold long winter. In my opinion, the apples picked fresh from a farm are far tastier than anything I’ve ever bought in a grocery store. So every year, I pick a farm, drive out to the country and pay a ton of money for farm fresh, pick my own apples. Macintosh are my apple of choice.
In the past I have dragged my boyfriend, a somewhat reluctant participant in this activity. He definitely enjoys the baked goods that come out of it but he is not a fan of the actual process. This year I was lucky enough to find a more enthusiastic apple picking partner. An avid fan of Fall, Sebrina is the perfect partner for a Fall country adventure. Sebrina’s friend also had the scoop on a farm out in Milton, ON that didn’t charge an admission fee (that’s right, most farms around here charge you for the opportunity to pick your own apples + the cost of the apples). Wheelbarrow Orchards, is where we were directed to go and we took a lovely scenic route up Appleby Line to get there. While it is true they do not charge admission fees (thank you) they do have you buy a bag from their market for your apple picking. The beauty of that is once you fill your bag you can leave. No having to stand in a line to get apples weighed and be shocked by your total.
Two sizes of bags are offered, a 10lb bag (small) and 20lb bag (large). The prices for each are inline with what I have seen at other farms. I purchased a large bag for $42 which I thought was reasonable compared to other places I have been. Once you buy your bag, off to the apple orchard you go! You have the option of taking a wagon ride out to the orchards or walking. We walked to the furthest end of the orchard (to get the best availability of apples) and it only took about 10 minutes. I can see the wagon ride being easier if you have children, plus its more fun and should be part of any apple picking experience. Note that a large full bag of apples is quite heavy so you may want to take the wagon back in. Not a problem for us since Sebrina is much stronger than I and helped carry my heavy bag.
We went last weekend of September and there was still good availability for Macintosh, Spartan, Empire and Cortland. Gala apples were pretty much gone. Honeycrisp apples are available for purchase in the market only. You cannot pick those yourself. Any other variety seems to be fair game as long as you time your visit accordingly.
Once we were done picking apples, we decided to check out the goodies in the market. I highly recommend you do this. The variety of salad dressings, jams, jellies, sauces and baked goods were mouth watering! You can also try a sample of their cider, hard and regular. Their sparkling water is also quite delicious. I exerted some uncharacteristic self control and came away with only Balsamic Maple Vinaigrette Salad Dressing, Maple BBQ and Dipping Sauce, Sparkling water, some fudge and a butter tart. So far I have had everything except the bbq sauce and everything is delicious! I could see myself making a trip out there just to stock up on some the dressing and sauces.
A big thank you to the staff in the market who were so friendly and helpful in assisting us with our choices. I hope to see you again very soon. Pretty sure I will be back next year for apple picking and maybe before that for some non apple goodies.
Photo Credit: all photos taken by Sebrina Bromfield. Used with permission.