Autumn is here and with that comes all of those great fall activities; one of my favorites, apple picking! There’s nothing like picking your own fresh apples right from the tree to enjoy and the Fox Cities has some great places for picking!
Apple picking is easy and fun for the whole family! Over the years, my family and I have visited Sprangers and Star Orchards, both of which are located in the Fox Cities. The farmers will tell you what varieties are ripe and ready, and where to look for them in the orchard. As I go through the orchard, I sometimes like to sample before picking. This is a common practice for many apple pickers, and is encouraged. When selecting the right apples you’ll want to make sure they’re firm and bruise-free, just roll the apple and give it a little twist! Apples ripen from the outside of the tree towards the center, so ones around the outside of the tree will ripen first. Once picked, place the apples gently into your basket to be sure not to bruise them because they will go bad more quickly. To increase their shelf life, it’s best to store apples in a cool, dry place.
Orchards charge by the pound for your apples, It’s always fun to try and guess how much you have picked as you watch the numbers on the scale go up. A bushel weighs between 42 and 48 pounds. If picking your own isn’t your thing, both orchards we visited have a small store where you can purchase pre-picked apples, as well as locally made edibles.
A few of our local orchards are listed below. Be sure to get out this fall and take advantage of our great orchards! Picking season varies depending on weather and location but typically runs from September through October.
Bauer’s Apple Shed – W7763 Wisconsin Avenue, Hortonville
Hofacker’s Hillside Orchard – W3964 Wedge Road, Appleton
Sprangers Orchard – W2100 County Road KK, Kaukauna
Star Orchard – 253 County Road CE, Kaukauna
Fresh picked apples are great to eat all on their own but I love to use mine for baking. Apple cobbler is my families favorite go-to apple treat. My recipe is below!
7-8 (9 cups) large tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced ¼ inch
½ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
serve with vanilla ice cream (optional) – but why wouldn’t you?!