IMG_3577With the end of summer at hand, it means Fall is quickly on the horizon and delicious apples are ready to be picked. For us, apple picking is a family tradition, and I thought I would share some tips to make your next apple picking adventure even more fruitful.

Find your orchard/farm: You want to make sure you do some research prior to the day. Are you looking for a pick-your-own place? Do you want more of an activity farm with games, animals, or live events? Is a hayride important to your kids? These are questions you’ll want to ask before you go, so knowing what the orchard or farm offers is important.

Plan to go in the morning: It’s best to try to arrive right when the farm opens. Make sure you know the hours of operation. Not only do they usually have apple cider doughnuts, but kids are also typically in a better mood in the morning. Plus, you don’t have the mid-afternoon heat and you can finish up your apple adventure with a picnic lunch or enjoy some fare from the orchard store or a local restaurant. And remember: It may be fall, but don’t forget the sunscreen!

Know what apples you want or need: Every year I make the mistake of going in blind. Once I get to the orchard I can’t remember what type of apples I need for sauce or pies or what I like for snacks. I love when they’re labeled, and the employees are always helpful, but having a plan of attack is your best bet to make sure you leave with everything you need for your favorite fall recipes.

Make sure to bring some wipes or towels: By the time the picking festivities come to an end, the entire family will have sweet and sticky hands full of apple juice. I always make sure to bring some wipes or a wet towel. This way we are still looking crsip for lunch.

Pick apples with a twist: When it comes to picking apples off the tree, don’t just pull them off. Give them a twist. They should come off easily and that’s how you know they’re ripe!

Place apples in the bucket or bag: Apples can bruise easily so make sure you don’t just toss them into the bucket. Place them in gently, and teach kids to handle these delicate and delicious fruits with care.

Never pick apples off the ground: It may look like an amazing apple, but don’t pick apples off the ground. These “windfall apples” will be used for ciders or food for animals. We always remind the kids to stick to the trees and explain that these apples will be put to good use in other ways.

Don’t forget your camera: You’re there for the apples, but make sure to snap a few photos as well. I love looking through the years and seeing how the kids were on our shoulders picking apples, and now they can do it themselves.

Have fun with fashion: It may sound silly, but an apple orchard is a picturesque backdrop. You don’t need to go crazy coordinating, but last year we all accidentally wore plaid and it made for one of my favorite family photos. Also, don’t be afraid of the selfie stick. This photo is from one, and we’re all in the picture!

Family Apple Picking Photo

Now the big question is, what’s your favorite things to make with apples?