If you are planning to go apple picking with your kids, here are a few tips that will make it go well and help everyone have a good time.
First, make a plan:
- Where are you going? Some U-picks have outdoor play spaces, some have a store, and some may have just trees and stand. Choose one that works best for your family.
- How far away is it? Map out your route and think about travel time – maybe you need to plan distractions or snacks for the trip.
- Do they actually have ripe apples? Call them to see if they are picking and what they are picking! Websites may not be up to date.
- Where do you go? Check restroom options and where they are in relation to the picking area.
Then, get ready to go:
- Plan to walk, possibly through mud: If it is drive up and pick, or a park and they drop you off – you will more than likely do some, if not a lot of walking, and it might be through mud or itchy grasses. 85% of the time the trees closest to where you start picking will not have reachable apples. Turn it into an adventure or a game to find the low fruit!
- Dress for the weather: wear layers, it could start at 50 degrees and go to 75 or the opposite.
- Bring food and water: Plan to bring water bottles and some good snacks, to help augment the sugary ones for sale at the farm store and combat the hunger everyone may feel on the way home.
Finally, enjoy your trip!
- Learn the rules: A staff member will explain the rules. It is in their best interest that you get ripe apples, that everyone has a good time, and their trees are respected. They can also help reinforce the rules you’ve already established.
- Use plenty of bags: Apples in a bag look –alike, so if your children are ok sharing, it’s ok to just have one or two bags you all can fill together. But usually, it is fine for everyone to have a bag! Apples are sold by weight, so each bag can be added to the scale at the end.
- Get the high apples: Are you tall, or have you made an apple picking apparatus? This is your moment to shine! You will quickly become either the ladder or the assistant.
- Don’t carry too much! Apples get heavy quickly. If your kids want to carry their own bag, keep that in mind. Limits or an additional family bag may help. In the end, you still might be left hauling the bags.
- Use those apples! You now have a lot of apples.There is endless information about storing, cooking, and crafting with apples online. Do you have a favorite family recipe or one you always wanted to try to make together? Do you know a neighbor or family member that would appreciate freshly picked apples? Now is your chance to try those things and share with others.
Kristina Arthur joined Holden Forests and Gardens in 2019 as the Hershey Children's Garden Coordinator, in the Education department. She moved to the Kirtland campus and the Horticulture department in June of 2022, where she oversees the Rhododendron Discovery Garden and the R. Henry Norweb Jr. Tree Allée. Her prior experience includes The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, University Hospitals Angie's Garden and the Horticultural Therapy suite, and Cleveland Metroparks. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University and Case Western Reserve University and has a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. Kristina lives in Chardon with her husband and two sons.