Apple picking season is in full force—so it’s the perfect time of year to list some of our favourite spots to pick your own crisp, juicy Cortlands, Macs, and Galas.
Frosts around blossom time and low temperatures in the spring have made it a rough year for the apple harvest, so be patient. With that in mind, whether you’re planning a pie, a crumble, or just want to pick up some snacks for your lunch bag, these spots are perfect for a family-friendly fall experience.
Just a note: many orchards and pick-your-own spots have a variety of COVID policies in place, and may be restricting activities in order to maintain safety for everyone visiting. As well, some have instituted admission prices, or timed admission tickets. Make sure to check a location’s website to make sure you’re up-to-date.
Overlooking the Credit Valley on 100 acres in Brampton, Carl Laidlaw Orchards offers a wide variety of apples, including Honeycrisp, Jona golds, and Granny Smith (among many, many others). Other fun activities include a wagon ride and a corn maze to wander through. Visits are first-come, first served, and masks must be worn in the barn.
A perennial favourite for three generations of school field trips, Chudleigh’s offers apple orchards, a playground, nature trails, and farm animals to visit. If you don’t feel like going home and peeling a pile of apples for baking, pick up one of their frozen, pre-made pies—all you need to do is pop it in the oven (and add some ice cream once it’s warm). To visit, you’ll need to purchase a ticket or season’s pass in advance, which you can do on their website.
Wagon rides, a straw jump, a corn maze, a playground (complete with tractors to climb on), and nature trails combine with pick-your-own apples to make Mountain Orchards a fun family outing. One neat point of interest: the farm boasts trees that are descendants of the original MacIntosh trees discovered in Dundela, Ontario, in 1829. Activities and parking on the farm are free, and masks must be worn in certain areas.
Smiths offers a wide range of pre-picked apples—for the varieties offered for pick-your-own, check out their Facebook page. Their Outback play area boasts a corn maze, a tube slide, a straw fort, a playground, and weekend hay rides. Admission to the orchards, pumpkin patch, and farm store is free (just pay for what you pick), and you can purchase tickets to the Outback at the farm. Masks must be worn everywhere on site, including while picking apples and in the Outback.
Apple Land had us at “mile-high apple pies,” but there’s much more to this spot than (delicious) pies. Get aboard the replica “L” train, which tours folks around the farm. Then pick some apples and visit with the barnyard animals. Note: pets are not allowed on the premises (service animals are excepted).
It’s decorative gourd season, and Myers has a great selection. They also offer apples and pumpkins that you can pick, as well as friendly farm animals, all in a peaceful setting just outside of Hamilton. Fresh produce and baked goods are available at their farm store. You can visit Myers from Thursday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The 165 acres of farmland on the Niagara Escarpment offers a great fall experience for families until October 31. Walking trails, a straw maze, a corn walk, and endless spots for photos makes Andrews an ideal day trip—and that’s before you check out the winery, which offers fruit, dessert, and red and white wines. The website lists admission charges.
Apples are great for pie, crumble, and snacking—but they’re also wonderful for cider, and Spirit Tree’s sweet and hard ciders are worth the visit to Caledon. Of course, they also have pie, and pick-your-own apples, so you’ll really get the whole tree-to-tummy experience. If you’re hungry, the Ciderhouse Bistro (reservations required) is a good place to indulge in rustic, locally sourced meals. Or you can pick up picnic fixings at their farm store.
Pick your own apples, get a wagon ride, and sample a flight of cider at Campbell’s Orchards. Once you’ve explored the farm, check out a wide selection of local groceries in their farm store, including cheese, meat, maple syrup, preserves, and snacks. This year, Campbell’s offers a weekend access pass, which provides access to their corn maze, a wagon ride, the play area, and their farm animals.
Get your fill of Gala, Honeycrisp, MacIntosh, Silken, and Cortland apples at JC Agri Orchards, or pick up honey and pies at their farm market. Want to learn more about apples? Book an educational tour, offered on Fridays, and enjoy a day learning on the farm. Check out their website for admission info.
Fruit wines, cider, mead, and pick-your-own apples make for a great combination at Applewood Farm. You can also visit their pumpkin patch, take a wagon ride, and the littles can enjoy their large play yard. If you’re looking for some adult enjoyment (although kids are welcome too), grab a spot, a drink and some snacks on the licensed patio. Admission information is on their website.