Fall is the season for apples and Southern California has its share of orchards that offer u-pick and harvested fruit. Whether it’s a family daytrip or a romantic weekend getaway, local country orchards offer a great way to enjoy nature’s perfect fruit. From Julian to Oak Glen in San Bernardino County, check out these local orchards open to the public:
Julian is a historic gold-mining town nestled at the base of the Cuyamaca Mountains in East County San Diego. It’s famous for its apples, honey, pumpkins and colorful changing of the leaves during the fall season. Apple orchards, apple cider, apple pie, candied apples, and more … Julian boasts an array of apple orchards (we couldn’t choose just one!) to please the whole family. With a charming downtown and several cozy B&Bs for overnighters, this little town is a perfect destination for apple lovers everywhere.
Brian Ranch Airport U-Pick Orchard
Twenty-five miles west of Victorville in Llano is this u-pick orchard that features a wide variety of tree fruit. Apple varieties include Braeburn, Golden Supreme, Red Fuji, and Royal Gala. During the picking season, which began in June and continues through October, the orchard is open Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and by appointment. In addition to apples, pears are also in season. For more information, call 661-261-3216.
With over 50 acres of fruit trees, including apples, Sky Meadow Farms in Los Angeles’s Leona Valley is the place to find nature’s perfect treat. Families can spend an afternoon picking pesticide-free tree-ripened fruit or let Sky Meadows staff pick the bounty. The farm encompasses 250 acres and features a relaxed ranch setting surrounded by neighboring down-home cafes and specialty stores.
Located in Oak Glen, just outside Yucaipa, sits the working apple farm called Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho. There are up to 20 apple varieties here, depending upon season, and many are available for u-pick. There’s also a u-pick pumpkin patch and a large selection of gourds and ornamental corn. A farm store and a deli/bakery can also be found. On weekends, Riley’s serves up a home-style BBQ featuring slow-roasted tri-tip sandwiches, Polish or chicken apple sausages, roasted corn on the cob and ranch-style cowboy beans.
Moms Country Orchards
Located in beautiful Mile High Oak Glen in Yucaipa, Moms carries local apples but they prefer to let the pros do the picking. They carry all the favorite varieties from Oak Glen apple like Jonathan, Winesap, Bellflower, Arkansas Black, Jonagold, Mutsu, Fuji, Pink Lady, Gala and many others. While at Moms, try the fresh baked goods, fresh pressed cider, and locally harvested honey. For more information and directions, call 909-797-4249.
Willowbrook Apple Farm
Pick your own apples, press your own cider, sample apple butter, enjoy a fresh dipped caramel apple, pet horses and browse fall home accents at Willowbrook Apple Farm in Oak Glen. Easy to get to – exit the 10 Freeway at Live Oak/Oak Glen Road in Yucaipa; head north on Oak Glen Road for 12 miles – this quaint country farm is open through mid November on weekends from 10 a.m. to dusk. Call for weekday morning picking: 909-797-9484.
Parrish Pioneer Ranch
Get apples and more at Parrish Pioneer Ranch in Oak Glen. Open year round from 9 .m. to 6 p.m., visitors can find apples, antiques, yodeling, and other country traditions. For more information, call 909-797-1753.
Apple of the Earth Farm
Travel a little farther north to Tehachapi and discover pesticide- and chemical-free apples at Apple of the Earth Farm. Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Winesap, Breaburn, and Fuji are the favored varieties here. Unfortunately, u-pick is not offered: All fruit is picked by Apple of the Earth. For more information, call 661-822-8650.
Jack Creek Farm
Travel even farther north to Templeton in San Luis Obispo County and see a working fifth generation family farm. At Jack Creek Farm, visitors can sample antique apples, heirloom tomatoes, pumpkins and a wide variety of produce. Jack Creek offers u-pick flowers and berries. Farm animals and antique farm machinery are on display, and picnic tables and children’s play area are also available. For more information, call 805-238-3799.
Toni McAllister is SWRNN’s lifestyles editor. She can be reached at email@example.com or 951-234-0704. Follow her on Twitter at SWRNNaelife.