How do you like them apples?
Autumn is on the horizon. While we’ll miss the blooming gardens and sunflower fields of summer, we’re also excited for the changing leaves, pumpkin patches, and orchards to harvest the fruits of fall. If you want to take measures into your own hands, read on to find out where to get your pick of the season’s best apple batch.
1. Honey Hill Orchard, 65 miles outside Chicago
With the early season at the Honey Hill Orchard in Waterman, IL starting September 5, peak season to apple pick at the orchard will start rolling from September 10 throughout October. In addition to over two dozen varieties of apples to pick from, Honey Hill also allows visitors to pick raspberries and pumpkins — Harvest Weekend being October 17 and 18. Stop by, take your pick, and grab some pure honey and 100% raw cider while you’re there!
2. Royal Oak Farm, 77 miles outside Chicago
At Royal Oak Farm in Harvard, IL, you’ll truly find out what is amaze’n about apples. Literally, the farm/bakery/gift shop is home to the only apple maze in the country. Over 160 acres wide, the 4-orchard farm boasts over 20,000 apple trees with 30 different varieties. After you’re finished with your picking, you can treat yourself to a home-cooked meal on the patio of their country kitchen. Or, wind down with a group of friends around one of the bonfires that are available with reservation!
3. Kuipers Family Farm, 55 miles outside Chicago
Maple Park, Illinois just sounds like an autumn town. Prime evidence is the fact that the northern-Illinois village is home to Kuiper’s Family Farm and pumpkin patch. Apple picking at Kuiper’s is available on weekends throughout the end of October. In addition to apples, Kuiper’s features a ton of other fun activities to entertain the whole family: from a life-size Charlotte’s web, pig races, mountain slide, carnival games, chalk house, and more, you’ll be in for a treat no matter what!
4. Heinz Orchard, 30 miles outside Chicago
The Heinz Orchard in Green Oaks, Illinois is the closest orchard to Chicago, Unlike the other farms which host numerous -non-apple-based attractions on their grounds, the Heinz Orchard is a no-frills. Instead, the small, family-run orchard is there for one thing and one thing only: picking apples. Take a short drive down to Heinz to pick tasty apples and have a good view doing it.
5. Country Line Orchard, 41 miles outside Chicago
If you’re looking to get your hands on some of the freshest Honeycrisp apples in the midwest, you’ll want to take a trip to the County Line Orchard in Hobalt, Indiana. If that’s the case, you’ll want to go during the apple’s heyday in September, otherwise the orchard has plenty more apples for the picking depending on the season. County Line also features numerous other attractions such as their bee yurts and pumpkin patch!
6. Keller’s Farmstand, 50 miles outside Chicago
Open for 3 out of the 4 seasons of the year, Keller’s Farmstand in Plainview offers numerous attractions during the autumn months. Whether you want a batch of hand-picked apples, or amble through their pumpkin patch, or chow down on some rich apple-cider and pumpkin donuts, trip down to one of Keller’s Farmstand locations in Oswego or Naperville.
7. Apple Holler, 66 miles outside Chicago
Cheese isn’t the only thing that comes out of Wisconsin. Apple Holler in Sturtevant, Wisconsin has been rated as one of the Top 25 Places To Go Apple Picking in America by US News and was voted one of the Top 10 Best Orchards in the country by USA Today. In addition to their orchard, Apple Holler’s market and Cider & Bakery Barn are now open every day.
8. Lang’s Orchard, 63 miles outside Chicago
Apple-picking season at Lang’s Orchard in Woodstock begins September 12. Like Kuiper’s Family Farm, the beauty in Lang’s is the simplicity. Come by Lang’s on the weekends to pick from an assortment of apples and stop by their shop to get some tasty jellies, honey, and salsa.
9. Jonamac Orchard, 69 miles outside Chicago
Jonamac Orchard lies on a 105-acre farm that grows over 20,000 apples trees throughout the season. While they might not all be in season simultaneously, Jonamac grows over 30 different varieties of red, yellow, and pink apples. Additionally, the farm has a Cider House on the grounds with taps on taps of hard ciders and apple wines!
10. All Season’s Orchard, 60 miles outside Chicago
Open daily in September and October, All Season’s Orchard in McHenry County is Woodstock features 15,000 apples trees on the grounds as well as a 10-acre pumpkin patch perfect for fall pickin’. If picking works up your appetite, be sure to check out their Country Kitchen and Dessert Bar, where you can load up on apple pie, apple cider donuts, and — this is the best part — an apple cider donut sundae. Trust us, you want it.
[Featured image @shayna.friedman]