It's apple-picking time! Here's your guide to orchards around the Sound

Before pumpkin spice lattes, autumn meant cider made from freshly-picked apples. Here's where you can go right now to pick your own.

September 14, 2020
At the apple orchard

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You already know that Washington is a big apple-growing state. But have you ever gone on an expedition to an orchard to pick your own? 

At a time when we're all looking for family activities to take the place of sports or travel or whatever else the pandemic has prevented, heading to an apple orchard can be a fantastic fall family activity. You're together with your crew outside in the crisp autumn air, it's easy to socially distance, it's not expensive, and at the end of the day you've got a bazillion apples for cider, or pies, or just munching. 

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I came across a great guide to apple-picking around here on the trusty Red Tricycle Seattle website:  The Best Orchards to Pick Your Own Apples in Washington.

They run down a list of u-pick orchards as close in to Seattle as NW Bloom in Redmond where you can pick Liberty, Jonagold, Spartan and Golden Russet apples until well into October. For $17 you and a picking partner can fill a 5-gallon bucket. BTW, kids 10 and under are free.

There's The Farm at Swan's Trail in Snohomish, Jones Creek Farms in Sedro Wooley, and Bellewood Farms, w-a-a-a-a-y up north in Lynden where there's enough acreage to support 25,000 trees.

And if you've got a hankering for a real road trip where you can go beyond just apple-picking, head east to Yakima's West Valley U-Pick (besides apples, they grow eggplant, tomatillos, tomatoes, and zucchini) or Wenatchee's Stutzman Ranch for Gala, Fuji and Golden Delicious apples plus other seasonal fruits: Barlett and Asian pears, pluots and grapes.

Some orchards have specific rules about masks or reservations, and wildfires might affect conditions out there, so check ahead before going.

And if you'd rather just celebrate the end result of apple picking without doing the heavy lifting yourself, don't forget that Washington Cider Week is going strong pretty much daily through September 20 at locations all over the place, from Lake Forest Park to Olalla to Tacoma. This Facebook link has the schedule.

Once again, the link to the article about picking your own:  The Best Orchards to Pick Your Own Apples in Washington.

Have fun out there, and stay safe!