Apple Season is Ready for the Picking
Well, it’s that time again. Time to get ready to help yourself to all of the many apple orchards/farms there are out there. And there’s a lot! Here’s your guide to the best apple orchards around as well as what to expect. If you have a big family or just want to experience some good old-fashioned apple picking fun with your significant other, there’s something out there for everyone.
County Line Orchard
In my opinion the most popular apple orchard in the surrounding area is County Line Orchard. County Line Orchard is relatively closer to the Chicago area than some of the other orchards so it makes it more accessible. Only 40 miles to Northwest Indiana, there’s a ton of activities to do. When I’ve visited before it’s felt like the “Disneyland of apples” with people standing in long lines for apple cider doughnuts and hot apple cider. They have lots of activities for kids at this location, such as tractor rides and a petting zoo, but there’s lots of adult fun too, like running through a corn maze and picking your own apples in the forty acres of fresh apple rows. Don’t leave here without the apple doughnuts. You will regret your choices later. Honeycrisp, Gala and McIntosh apples are ready here for the picking. Admission is $1 for the U-Pick apple orchard and $1.79/lb.
County Line Orchard
200 S. County Line Road
Hobart, IN 46342
Looking for something a little less flashy? Heinz Orchard offers all the apples you could imagine without all of the extras. They are very to the point, even stating on their website to not “drive in from far away,” because of the lack of supply this year. According to their website, their crops failed this year due to “record rain, temperatures in the 40s and strong winds.” These are three major factors that prevent bees from flying to the area and pollinating the crop and all three occurred during blooming season. They also recommend that if you do come to Heinz to use their apples for sauces, pies, etc. as much of their fruit appears damaged. Heinz Orchard will not be open on the weekends.
Admission and parking is free, but at least one bag per group must be purchased at $5-10 for a half-peck.
Heinz Orchard, LLC
1050 Crest Road
Green Oaks, IL 60048
Looking for something a little more kid friendly? Apple Holler is the orchard for you! Just 65 miles north in Wisconsin, Apple Holler has the best of activities and apples available for you and your family. Open daily you have plenty of options to get you and your family out to this orchard. A little more on the pricier side of the apple orchard scale, guests entering the apple orchard must each pay a picking-bag fee. 1 guest is $15, 1 – 3 guests is $20, 4 – 7 guests is $18.75 and the rates continue. Each apple-picking package includes a bag for apple picking – per person, free tasting of the apples while walking around the orchard, free farm-park admission and a ride on the orchard express train ride. For those not apple picking and just taking advantage of the kids play area, corn maze, giant slide, bee observation and farm animals visit, admission is $8 per person. There’s also a full restaurant at Apple Holler open year-round serving up delicious hearty meals. Parking is not free in the months of September and October.
5006 South Sylvania Avenue
Sturtevant, WI 53177
Jonamac has opened its orchard doors as of Labor Day weekend. With over 40 varieties of apples throughout the season, 7,000 trees and pick-your-own pumpkin patch in late September, there are plenty of options. Admission is free and pick-your-own apple prices start at $15 for ½ peck (5 lbs) and $20 for 1 peck (10lbs). Apple donuts are freshly baked in the orchard country store along with hand-dipped caramel apples, apple pies and apple pizzas. Or indulge in some delicious homemade fudge at the fudge counter where you can stock up on a variety of flavors throughout the season. Jonamac’s even has a haunted-corn maze during the Halloween season to capture the true spirit of the fall.
19412 Shabbona Road
Malta, IL 60150
Apple Barn Orchard and Winery
Looking for a little more adult fun with your apple picking? Apple Barn Orchard and Winery has plenty of apple-picking fun plus wine, which makes everything better! A little further than some of the other orchards, but here you can visit their you-pick apple orchard AND a vineyard. There are less frills and kid-friendly activities than some of the other orchards so you can have a quiet day date with your beau and sip through the vineyards with a glass of red in one hand and an apple cider doughnut in the other. If there’s a better way to kick off the fall season, I’d sure like to know how.
Apple Barn Orchard and Winery
W6384 Sugar Creek Road
Elkhorn, WI 53121
And there you have it! With fall fast approaching, it’s best to grab it by the horns and let you control it, rather than it take control of you. With so many things to do, it’s hard to be bored in the fall. Take advantage and enjoy the new cooler weather!