Fall has officially arrived and we're craving all of the autumnal treats that come along with the season. Gather some friends and head to these U-Pick farms where you'll find acres of apple trees waiting to be turned into apple pie, applesauce, apple cider, and other seasonal favorites. The options are as endless as our appetite for them.
Where: 480 Swanton Rd., Davenport (90 minutes south of San Francisco)
When: Friday through Monday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Crops: Apples and grass fed beef (must be pre-ordered)
Cost: $1.75 per pound
The Rundown: Offering the largest variety of apples throughout the season, Swanton Pacific Ranch is run by Cal Poly University and is a certified organic. Here you'll find the longest picking season thanks to the different ripening periods of the 16 varieties grown. This month we're picking Golden Russets, Suntans and Jonagolds.
Where: 646 Trabing Rd., Watsonville (90 minutes south of San Francisco)
When: Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Crops: Apples and pumpkins, dried lavender, honey, and cider are also available.
Cost: $1 per pound
The Rundown: This family-run farm is a small, kid friendly u-pick option. Clearview Orchards offers a great variety of apples depending on when you visit. Its terraced area overlooks Watsonville Valley, and the farm encourages you to pack a lunch and cozy up on their lawn for an afternoon picnic. After all, you've probably worked up quite an appetite.
Where: El Dorado County, visit Applehill.com for a comprehensive map of individual farm locations. (two hours east of San Francisco, between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe)
When: Each farm keeps its own hours, though most are open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., visit the website for more information.
Crops: Depending on the farm you can find apples, pears, chestnuts, persimmons, pumpkins, and grapes.
Cost: $.75 to $1 per pound
The Rundown: Apple Hill is the motherland of fruit picking, with a variety of 50 farms, wineries, and breweries. Not every farm at Apple Hill offers u-pick, but when you're feeling like it's time for a break, it's easy to stock up on apple baked goods, snack on charcuterie, and sip on wine, apple beer, and cider.