Fall is upon us, which means it’s time for two things: decorative gourds and apple picking. The best way to tick both those seasonal activities off your list in one go? Head to one of Ontario’s apple orchards.
Here are six apple farms that come highly recommend from parents with young children (and from those with an inner child).
Andrews’ Scenic Acres
Established in 1980, the Andrews’ family farm has become the go-to spot for pick-your-own-everything, from sunflowers, to pumpkins and apples. The farm is open daily, but it really shines on “Toddler Tuesdays.” Activities change each week, but think seasonally-themed games and activities, including hunting for leaves, spoon apple races, and apple stamping crafts.
Milton, Ont., Mon to Thurs 10am-4pm & Fri to Sun 10am-5pm, andrewsscenicacres.com
Applewood Farm and Winery
Known for its strawberry and apple picking, you’re not going to be hurting for apple selection at Applewood: Macintosh, Cortland, Royal Gala, Ginger Gold, Honeycrisp and Sweet 16 are just some of the varieties. (You will, however, want to check out their Facebook page for updates on what’s available each week.) That’s why it comes as no surprise that there’s a similar selection to sample in their winery, including mead and cider.
Stouffville, Ont., Wed to Fri 12pm-5pm, Sat to Sun, 9am-5pm (last wagon to picking at 4:30pm), applewoodfarmwinery.com
Spirit Tree Estate Cidery
Maybe the name gives it away (anything with “estate” in its title denotes a particular sort of establishment). But if not, let us spell it out: This is an orchard meant for your inner child, not your actual child. That’s not to say that kids aren’t allowed, but this is the perfect place for an adults’ day out, with Honeycrisp, Cortland and Paula Red apples ripe for picking, an on-site bistro for eating, and, of course, cider for sipping.
Caledon, Ont., Sun & Weds to Thurs 10am-5pm, Fri to Sat 10am-8pm, spirittreecider.com
Myers Apple Farm
Only a 20 minute drive from Hamilton, Myers is in an idyllic setting far from the busy noise of the city. As the name implies, they’re experts in apples, but you can also find pick-your-own pumpkins here. There’s 14 varieties available for u-pick, while fresh produce can be purchased in their market store.
Copetown, Ont., daily 9am-6pm, myersapples.com
While there is no pick-your-own at this century-old farm, that just means less work and more family fun. From mid-September until the end of October, the farm hosts a weekly Harvest Festival every Saturday and Sunday. For $13, you can watch hourly puppet shows or the singing chicken show, take a wagon ride to the five-acre corn trail, and chow down on corn-on-the-cob.
Milton, Ont., daily 9am-5pm, springridgefarm.com
Looking at Campbell’s list of seasonal activities, it’s clear these farmers like good, healthy competition. As if conquering the corn maze wasn’t enough, there’s a word game to play within it. (If you manage to complete both, you can enter your name to win a prize.) Or, starting in mid-October, hop on the wagon to try the “all-you-can-carry pumpkin challenge,” where participants lug as many pumpkins as they can, using only the clothes on their back. More of a team player? There’s also apples to pick (and nobody keeping score).
Belleville, Ont., Mon to Sat 9am to 5:30pm, Sun 10am-5pm, campbellsorchards.com