The weather isn’t getting cooler just yet, but it’s still apple season! Some apples love the colder air, and those varieties are often sweeter (like the popular Honeycrisp) — but plenty of farms have apple varieties ready for picking right now.
Here’s what you need to know before heading to the apple orchards. Because trees get picked quickly, it’s best to call the farm you want to visit ahead of time to see if the variety you’re looking for is still available. Almost all apple orchards are selling apples by the bag (instead of by weight), and very few of the orchards that we came across will allow you to bring your own apple bag. And bring cash if you want to get through the line fast!
Here are the top 10 places to pick apples near the GTA this fall – remember, eye to the sky!
Apple season is still in full swing at Albion Orchards with McIntosh apples on deck and Royal Galas ready this weekend. You can currently grab a 10-pound bag of apples for $20 and 20 pounds for $40 (though we’ve heard that if you wait until the end of the season when pickings are slim, Albion offers discounts). Albion is located in Caledon, so it’s the perfect quick trip for a lazy weekend. More details about Albion’s current varieties can be found on their website, but the farm updates their Facebook page more frequently, so make sure to check that page before you go.
Pine Farms Orchard in the King Township is currently picking Cox’s Orange Pippin, Gravenstein and Sunrise, and other varieties including Wealthy, McIntosh, Royal Gala, Cortland, Honeycrisp and Red Delicious will soon be available throughout this month to the middle of October. The farm charges $2.35 per pound and you must pay an entrance fee of $7 per person. Enjoy Pine Farms’ bakeshop and café while you’re there as well!
At Pingle’s, you can currently pick Ginger Gold and Paula Red apples, with Royal Gala apples coming this weekend and McIntosh on Sept. 12. Wait until later in the month for Empire, Spy, Ambrosia, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp and Mutsu apples. The price of apples is $24 for 10 pounds and $39 for 20 pounds. Tickets must be purchased online before visiting the farm and include access to the farm’s harvest festival featuring a corn maze, wagon rides and more.
King City’s JC Agri Orchard is opening this weekend for pick-your-own apple season. The farm offers Honeycrisp, Gala, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Spartan, McIntosh, Cortland, Silken, Tydeman Red, Shizuka, Ambrosia and Northern Spy. Apples are $2 per pound, and you’re encouraged to bring your own bag (or pay $0.50 for each bag). It’s best to check the farm’s website before you arrive to ensure that the apples you want are still available. Admission is $7 per person and you’re able to drive through the orchard to get to each apple variety on your own.
Organics Family Farm in Markham is a small organic farm that’s currently picking a few varieties of apples. The farm does get picked out frequently and closes while awaiting new crops. It’s best to check the farm’s Facebook page (updated regularly) for details before you go. The $15 entry fee per person includes a 5lb bag of apples; any additional bags after that are priced at $12 for a 5-pound bag, $24 for 10 pounds and $48 for a half bushel or 20 pounds.
Downey’s is picking apples at its Caledon and Breslau locations. Downey’s has plenty of varieties available, and no reservations are required to visit the farm. Apples are $26 per 10-pound bag and $42 for 20 pounds. Check out the farm’s picking list to see which varieties are in season — it looks like Ginger Gold, McIntosh and Galas will all be ready by this weekend.
Silken and Sunrise apples await you at Chudleigh’s in Halton Hills, with Royal Galas and Honeycrisps being ready to pick by Sept. 16 and Sept. 17. The farm also has play areas, farm animals, and nature trails to explore. Tickets and reservations must be purchased and made before visiting the farm, so book ahead – it’ll cost you $16.50 per person to enter, or $14.50 for kids and seniors. They’re cash-free, so bring your cards!
Dixie Orchards is currently picking McIntosh and Royal Gala apples and has the famed Honeycrisp for purchase inside the farm’s market (pre-picked). You have to pre-purchase a bag and it’s recommended that you make a reservation before visiting the farm, especially on weekends. It will cost you $5.58 per person to enter, excluding kids under two.
Watson Farms is currently picking Rave, Honeycrisp and Ginger Gold apples, with many other varieties to come as the weather gets cooler. Apples are priced at $2.75 per pound, and no reservations are required, though it will cost you $5 to enter ($3 for kids). Tractor and wagon rides are also available on weekends. Watson Farm keeps its website frequently updated, so check before you go.
Macintosh, Ginger Gold, Royal Gala and many other varieties are available early September at Carl Laidlaw Orchards in Brampton. Reservations are not required, but it is first-come-first-serve at the farm, which is open weekends only. Apples are $20 per 10-pound bag and admission will cost you $15 for adults and $9 for kids.