As temperature is beginning to cool down, apple picking is the perfect autumn family activity; it gives you a chance to spend some time in nature, get a light workout, and teach your children about the importance of eating fresh fruit. Here are twelve tips to make this wholesome activity even more fun!
Before You Go:
1. Before you leave the house call the farm to confirm they have the apples. I once had to pick apples out of a bin because there weren’t any left on the trees. Also, if it rained the night before, find out if the grounds are very muddy. You don’t want to end up with completely soaked shoes.
2. Pack snacks, drinks, wipes & a camera. If the apple farm sells cider donuts you might want to bring a thermos with coffee to enjoy before you begin picking apples. I like to also bring a knife to peel the apples that I snack on while I pick. That way I don’t have to wait to wash the apples and I also avoid some of the pesticides that are mostly on the peel.
3. Wear comfortable clothes (in layers) and shoes. You may be walking in some muddy areas, or areas that require quite a bit of walking.
4. If you have very young children, I recommend bringing a baby carrier (front or back carrier, such as an ERGO or wrap) as most farms may not want your stroller trampling on their grass (and it will be too hard to push around). If there’s a trail, a jogging stroller may work the best. Just confirm that you are allowed to use a stroller, some places may ban them in the picking areas.
At the Farm:
1. When you get to the farm, ask the farmer to point out to you which area has ripe apples and which trees still have apples left on them.
2. Apples on the outside of the tree ripen first, so be sure to look for those.
3. When picking an apple, do not pull straight from the tree or shake the branches. Instead, roll the apple upwards and twist a little. If the apple drops it’s fine to pick it up. Also, leave the stem on, when possible, as it keeps the apples fresh longer.
4. After you pick the apples, instead of throwing into the basket, place them gently to prevent bruising.
1. Wash apples only before using to prevent them from spoiling.
2. Keep apples cool; store them in a basement or in the fruit/vegetable drawer of your fridge.
3. Placing a wet towel nearby to create humidity can keep apples from shriveling, but do not let the apples get wet.
4. Do not store apples together with potatoes, otherwise they’ll spoil faster.