Apple picking near Seattle?
Interesting question. Maybe because we have so many great farmer's markets, and because most orchards are hours away in eastern WA? I can't speak for everyone but I wouldn't go pick my own apples--why drive all the way to eastern WA when the farmers bring them to the farmer's markets here?
Or maybe--this might be going out on a limb--it's because northwesterners might be enjoying nature in other ways--we have mountains and millions of acres of national forests and parks closer than we have apple orchards. So if we want to get out away from the city and breathe fresh air, an apple orchard doesn't really rate.
This Saturday, from 10 to 4, at the crossroads mall, the wewstern cascases tree fruit society is having their fall show. You can taste exotic varieites and even buy a bag of some of these. The members tend to be hobby growers from around the region. They are very knowledgeable and a lot of fun. They show their prized apples and offer tastes.
Seattle Fall Fruit Show
October 27 10 am - 4 pm
15600 NE 8th St
I grew up apple picking back East (New York area) and definitely miss it. I love other outdoor activities too, but it's different.
I have a flyer for a harvest event this weekend at a farm that does pick-your-own apples. The farm is Jones Creek Farm and their website is http://skagitvalleyfruit.com/ (no info on the havest event on the website, but I have a flyer). Phone is 360-826-6820. Address 32260 Burrese Rd, Sedro Woolley, WA
I may go to it. According to their website, this farm has over 150 heirloom varieties of apples. If you're from somewhere where picking your own apples is common, you're also likely from somewhere where heirloom varieties are more common too. If you've never had an apple that isn't a typical supermarket popular variety (Gala/Braeburn/Delicious/etc), you should experience it. There's quite a variety out there.
Other details from the flyer for this weekend at that farm: pumpkins, pears, apples, freshly pressed hot spiced cider, cookies, pies, preserves, crafts, hayrides, haunted house, kid stuff. Friday, Sat, Sunday October 26-28 from 10am - 5pm (though the other side of the flyer says 10am - 8pm; may be worth calling them to check).
Hope that helps!!
Here's a report on the apple picking at Jones Creek. I was very impressed! It's hard to find orchards that grow heirloom apples in Washington, and they really do have something like 200 varieties. We found apples that taste like butterscotch, and apples that taste like anise. Apples that are solidly dark pink/red on the inside (with yellow skin). Incredibly tasty apples. Incredibly bizarre tasting apples. Tart ones. Sweet ones. Russeted ones. Baking ones. And this was after 95% of their apples have been picked for the season. The harvest festival itself seemed small but they sell their own unpasteurized cider made from over 20 varities, plus other goodies in the farm store. They were also really nice - they gave us cups of hot cider for free to warm us up before and after picking, came to check on us when we were still wandering the orchard, fascinated, after it had started getting dusky, etc. They also told us that the only rule of picking was "to eat as many apples as you want while you're picking." Plus, the trees are all short (dwarf varieties? just grafted that way??), so you can reach the apples without a pole and, if you're bringing kids, it's easier for them to pick than I remember the huge trees being as a kid. I'll definitely be back in future seasons, earlier next time.
It was also in a really nice setting - it's off of Hwy 20 (North Cascades Hwy), about 15 minutes from 1-5. Lower peaks of the North Cascades loom nearby while you're picking.
I have no idea how economically sound being a farmer of heirloom apples is, but I can imagine it has its challenges. This orchard amazed me and I'd love to see them get lots of customers. Then again, maybe they already do. I know they have sold at a bunch of local (Seattle area) farmers' markets - Broadway and briefly at Wallingford and probably others.
In the meantime, I have a bag full of fantastic apples.
I wanted to revive this thread in a timely fashion, particularly since we went to a u-pick apple orchard today (they really are rare up here in WA), and they only had 1 variety to pick.
Based on seattledeb's rec, we tried Jones Creek last year, and it is really a fun place to pick. The reason they have so many varieties is because they only have a couple trees of each. So in a row, you can try 30 varieties of apples. We did this last year, and took home one or two (or three) of 50 different apple types. More fun than the same apple over and over.
Click on the hyperink above. I believe they're having their annual fall festival next weekend.
I have to recommend Jones Creek Farm as well after visiting them last weekend. Arriving at the Jones Creek Farm, you will see a red barn nestled in the blue Cascade mountains. You already feel at home as Chomper and Copper, the Price family's dogs welcome you wagging their tails and Talea and Les Price offer you a cup of hot fresh apple cider.
Then it's off with provided wagons and bags to the orchard where Talea can tell you about every apple there, letting you know where to find the best sweet or tart varieties. There is only one rule at Jones Creek Farm and that is you should try every apple you possibly can. If you don't like it, throw it under the tree and move on to the next apples. We were there for 3 hours and I couldn't eat another bite and that's saying something considering my love of apples. We didn't make it to the Apple Valley Orchard that is 15 minutes away, but it looks like they have wine so that would be another fun stop.
Talea and Les are passionate about their farm and it shows. Not only is the farm beautifully kept and the crops grown organically, but not certified, they can also tell you all you want to know about the crops and how best to prepare them. Their friendliness and letting you taste and pick whatever you want is truly a unique experience. I moved here from the east coast where apple-picking is a common autumn outing, but I never visited a farm as friendly and knowledgable as the Jones Creek Farm. I will definitely return, perhaps again for apples and pumkins this year and for the garlic festival, tomotoes and the tree grafting next year.
Crops grown: 125 varieties of apples including heirlooms, 15 varieties of pears including asian pears, 7 varieties of plums, 3 varieties of garlic, 10 varieties of tomatoes including heirloom, 25 varieties of tomato plants for sale, a variety of pumpkins, 3 varieties of garlic, farm-fresh eggs and many varieties of pumpkins including sugar, european and jack-o-lantern.
I believe their hours are from 10am-5pm and they accept cash, visa and mastercard. Address: 32260 Burrese Rd., Sedro Woolley, WA 98284 Phone: 360.826.6820 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://skagitvalleyfruit.com