McIntosh, Red Delicious, Honeycrisps and more. Each fall, families head out to local orchards to gather bushels of these delectable apples.
Visiting a pick-your-own orchard or farm makes for a fun family outing.
“Kids these days are so removed from where their food comes from,” says Dave Patterson of Patterson Fruit Farm in Chesterland. “It used to be the grandparents had farms, but now it’s the great-grandparents or even further back. So coming here to our family’s orchard is a nice opportunity to see where the apples are actually grown.”
While picking apples, kids and parents have the opportunity to engage all their senses.
“The kids love to smell the fresh apples and compare the sweetness, color and size of the various apples,” says Misty Ricco, a mom from North Royalton, who has been apple picking many times. “We always like to talk about how apples are grown, how important the bees are and how apples are harvested in the fall. They also really enjoy talking to the farmers.”
In order to make the most of traveling to the orchard, keep these following tips in mind:
• A small wagon can be helpful if you plan to pick a large quantity of fruit or for young kids who need a break.
• Like people, yellow jackets love apples, mainly the overripe and damaged fruit on the ground. Be sure to steer little hands away from these fruits.
• Call ahead to the orchard to check the hours pick-your-own is available, what forms of payment are accepted, whether there is plenty of low-hanging fruit that kids can reach, and to learn about any special activities or deals.
Now that you’re ready to head out, it’s time to decide on where to go. There are dozens of pick-your-own orchards or farms throughout Northeast Ohio. Each offers a variety of apples, along with other local produce and products as well as special events and activities for visitors.
For example, Bill Richardson, owner of Richardson Farms in Medina, says “in addition to the orchard, we are also a general farm and have turkeys, chickens and other farm animals that the kids love to visit.”
Joshua Schmidt, general manager at Mapleside Farms in Brunswick, says their Johnny Appleseed Festival is a longtime family tradition. It has been held the second week of September for the past 40 years. “We have celebrated our apple legend and families come year after year to see the apple butter being made over a camp fire the same way it was during Johnny’s time,” he says.
Mapleside also hosts its “Pumpkin Village,” which runs Sept. 5 through Nov. 2.
To get you started, here are some other orchards and markets in the region:
Patterson Farms, 11414 Caves Rd, Chesterland, pattersonfarm.com
Mapleside Farms, 294 Pearl Rd, Brunswick, mapleside.com
Blue Jay Orchard. 17909 Rapids Road, Hiram, 440-834-4318 or [email protected]
Beckwith Orchards, 1617 Lake Rockwell Road, Kent, beckwithorchards.com
Heavenly Hill Farm, 18375 State Road, North Royalton, 440-237-8708
Ridgeview Farm, 5488 Kinsman Rd (SR 87), Middlefield. Farm Reopens Sept. 20. ridgeviewfarm.com
Sage’s Apples, 11355 Chardon Road, Chardon, sagesapples.com
West Orchards, 3034 North Ridge Road, Perry, westorchardsfarmmarket.com
Spiegelberg Orchards, 6161 Middle Ridge Road, Lorain, 440-233-6083
Smith’s Fruit Farm, 6611 S.R.E. Rt. 84, Geneva, 440-466-2433
Eddy’s Fruit Farm,12079 Caves Road, Chesterland, eddyfruitfarm.com
Something other than apples:
Raspberry picking adventure at the Rosby Garden Center, 42 E. Schaaf Road,Brooklyn Hts. Rosby Garden