Apple picking season is here! Before pumpkin takes over, I like to give apples their moment to shine. And since BOTH of my picky eaters love apples, it’s a great activity for us to together in September. Since Henry was a baby, I’ve gone apple picking with my sister, niece and nephew at Styer Orchard in Langhorne.
It’s become tradition because 1) it’s the closest and 2) they’re one of the few places where you only pay for what you pick. This year, however, we found out an hour before we left the house that Styer was closed the day we had set aside for apple picking together! After we scrambled to find a place that was open on Tuesdays, we settled on Terhune Orchards in Princeton. It was a longer drive, but we had a great time, and I always love “discovering” a new spot!
The next day, I had plans to meet friends at Shady Brook Farm. While Shady Brook has been a family favorite for 14 years, I’ve actually never gone apple picking there! I always love visiting Shady Brook, and as a bonus, I got to have my first taste of Uncle Dave’s pumpkin ice cream for the season.
Below, you’ll find a list of local places for apple picking. Bucks County is always my go-to, but I’ve included a few others that aren’t too far away. Because as our Tuesday excursion proved, sometimes it’s worth the drive for some early fall fun!
Where to Go:
Please note that it is always advised to check a location’s Facebook page or call ahead as openings might vary based on weather and other factors.
Shady Brook Farm
931 Stony Hill Road, Yardley
Hours: Wednesday – Sunday, opens at 10 a.m., close time is later on weekends and hours extend as we get closer to Halloween. (Note that wagons to crops end before closure, and apple picking tends to end early October.)
After September 10, pick-your-own crops at Shady Brook Farm can only be accessed via FallFest, so you’ve missed your chance if you’re just in it for the apples. But if you’re looking for a day full of family fun, Shady Brook is always a good choice this time of year. FallFest includes their 5-acre corn maze (this year’s design honors the 20th anniversary of 9-11), wagon rides to the crops, BEARS playground, giant jumping pillow, pedal go-karts, sports challenge area, and more. I’m excited to check out the new “Roller Bowler” game, and we always enjoy the live music on the weekends. Typically, we go to Shady Brook at least once, but it’s usually an October/Halloween outing for us. This year, I purchased season tickets during their 1/2 price sale, so I’m looking forward to spending many fall weekdays on the farm with the kids when it’s not as crowded. (We’ll be back for at least one weekend with Daddy!) Online tickets are $12 per person on weekdays and $20 on weekends. (Weekends start at 5 p.m. on Friday.) Children under the age of 2 are free. Be sure to purchase your reserved tickets online to guarantee entry, and because it’s a few dollars more if you buy in person. Apples are $1.49 per pound.
3325 Creamery Road, New Hope
Hours: Thursday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Closed Monday – Wednesday)
Apple picking has begun at Solebury Orchards! Tractors and wagons take you out to the trees for picking on Saturdays and Sundays. Picking continues through September and October. Visit the orchard store for fresh apple cider, cider slushies and heavenly cider donuts.
You need to make a reservation for Saturdays and Sundays. Picking costs $2.50 per person (Kids 4 and under are free.) Apples are $1.50 per pound.
97 Styers Lane, Langhorne
Hours: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., closed Mondays (Check their Facebook page or call before coming out though.)
Styer Orchard offers pick-your-own apples (and more!) throughout the season. Walk or take a wagon out to orchards. Picking and wagon rides are free. Purchase what you pick.
Tabora Farm & Orchard & Rustic Valley Orchard
1104 (Tabora) and 1220 (Rustic) Upper Stump Road, Chalfont
Hours: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on weekends at Rustic Valley, daily at Tabora
Tabora Farms and Rustic Valley Orchard work in partnership together to offer fall fun. At Rustic Valley (the newest orchard in Bucks), you can pick Ruby Mac, Evercrisp, Pink Lady, Fuji, Granny Smith, and more. Picking started 9/4. At Tabora Farms, you can pick red and golden delicious apples. Picking starts 9/13. Tabora Farm will host their Annual Apple Festival on October 2 and 3 with a huge sale and many types of apples. Rustic Valley will host their Fall FEstival on weekends in October. There’s a $10 admission for ages 3 and older. In addition to apple picking, there will be hayrides, corn maze, games, etc.
137 W. Knowlton Road, Media
Hours: Pick-your-own is Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Linvilla is well known for their fall festival called Pumpkinland, which starts September 11. If you’d like to spend the day exploring all of the activities, you’ll want to check them out on their website. Almost everything is priced a la carte, meaning you buy tickets for the corn maze, hay ride, pony rides, etc. separately. If you’re just interested in going apple picking, you can purchase tickets just to do that. They’re $7 per person online or $8 in person (limited available). Each person over 12 months needs to purchase a ticket, and then those $7 goes toward your apple purchase. (If you go over your total amount, you pay extra, but you don’t get any money back if you don’t pick enough.) Apples are priced at $7 for 1/4 peck, $28 for a peck and $42 for 1/2 bushel.
330 Cold Soil Road, Princeton for the Market and other activities; apple picking is at 13 Van Kirk Road, Princeton
Hours: Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
We recently visited Terhune Orchards for the first time. Apple picking is priced differently than what I’ve seen before. Instead of paying per pound, you choose a size of bag that you’d like to purchase, and then you fit as many apples as you can inside the bag. (All visitors over 5 need to purchase a bag.) I’ve included a photo below with the pricing. The smallest bag is $8. After apple picking, we drove over to the farm to see the animals, and visit the market. I couldn’t resist buying my first apple cider donuts of the year, and an apple cider slushee seemed like the natural choice to wash it down. The kids picked out cookies, and I brought home a bottle of wine to have with dinner. Behind the market, there were live animals and a sort of playground with a bunch of little playhouses, tractors to climb on and games. Starting September 18, they’ll also have their Fall Festival every Saturday and Sunday until Halloween from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $11 at the door or $14 at the gate. (Children under 3 are free.)
Apple Picking Tips
Years ago, I worked on an apple picking article for another website, and I was able to get some great tips from the people at Shady Brook Farm:
- If you know you prefer a certain variety of apple, be sure to call the local farm you’re visiting to ensure those apples are grown there and ready for picking.
- Good farmers will also be able to give you tips on what to look for to guarantee a high quality apple, like the particular color you should look for when picking a specific type.
- Picking apples is easy, and their large size makes it so even young children can join in without the fear of crushing that you might have with a more delicate fruit. To pick an apple from the tree, roll the apple upwards off the branch and give a little twist. Don’t pull straight away from the tree or try to get apples to fall by shaking.
- Always select firm, bruise-free apples and try to leave the stem on the fruit as it will help them store longer.
- Place apples in bags or baskets gently as bruises will cause them to go bad sooner.
I’m adding these tips of my own:
- Apple picking makes for great fall photos! My sister and I have been taking pictures of our kids in almost the same pose every year while apple picking. (Yes, we take the photo from the front, too.) I love looking back to see how they’ve changed over the years. The apple orchards on either side of them give the feel of a “natural” frame. The green of the trees and the sky behind them add color without being distracting.
- Shady Brook deserves a special shoutout for their photo ops. While apple picking this week, we literally saw people doing full-on photo shoots in the fields. They’ve had pickup trucks, tractors, and even a bath tub in the past. But THIS year, they had all of that PLUS a fully decked out hippie rainbow bus. It was actually the highlight of the trip for my kids. (Remember, we were there pre FallFest.) They had so much fun playing and posing on this bus.
- Have at least a few apple recipes in mind to try because I find that we get a little over zealous with our picking, and it helps to have some recipes to try when we’ve tired of plain, raw apples. HERE‘S a link to some healthy apple breakfast recipes. I’ll try to post some more soon!
Apple Storage Tips
- Once you bring your apples home, keep them in a cool dry place where they won’t freeze.
- Pick out all apples that have any soft or bruised spots. These are fine to eat but should be eaten first instead of storing.
- Apples that will be eaten within a week or two should be stored in perforated plastic bags in the refrigerator.
- Other apples can last several months when stored properly. Wrap apples separately in individual sheets of newspaper, being careful not to use paper with colored ink. Wrapping in paper prevents contact between the apples, so one rotten apple won’t spoil them all.
- Don’t wash apples until just before using to prevent spoilage.