Get ready for an unforgettable adventure in San Francisco – it’s apple picking time! Grab your friends and family, and prepare for a day filled with laughter, stunning landscapes, and bushels of sweet, juicy apples just waiting to be picked by you.
Apple picking in San Francisco is not only a fantastic seasonal experience, but it’s also an opportunity to make lifelong memories as you celebrate the beauty and bounty of nature.
Apple Picking Season in California
Apple picking season in California typically begins in late August and continues through October, with some orchards extending into early November.
The season can vary slightly depending on the region, as California has diverse microclimates that affect fruit ripening times.
Northern California, particularly in the Sonoma and Apple Hill regions, is known for its abundant apple orchards. The cooler climates in these areas make for ideal apple growing conditions, offering a diverse array of apple varieties such as Gravenstein, Golden Delicious, Gala, and Fuji.
In Southern California, apple picking is popular in the Oak Glen region near the San Bernardino Mountains and in the high desert areas like Julian, where cooler temperatures provide a more suitable environment for apple cultivation.
Here, you can find varieties such as Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Rome Beauty, and McIntosh.
San Francisco Apple Picking Farms
Chileno Valley Ranch
- Address: 5105 Chileno Valley Rd, Petaluma, CA 94952
- Website: https://www.mikeandsallygalebeefranch.com/apple-picking
- Distance from downtown San Francisco: Approximately 50 miles
- Address: 55 Peckham Rd, Watsonville, CA 95076
- Website: https://www.gizdich-ranch.com/
- Distance from downtown San Francisco: Approximately 87 miles
- Address: 646 Trabing Rd, Watsonville, CA 95076
- Website: https://www.clearvieworchards.com/
- Distance from downtown San Francisco: Approximately 87 miles
Swanton Pacific Ranch (Cal Poly)
- Address: 480 Swanton Rd, Davenport, CA 95017
- Website: https://spranch.calpoly.edu/u-pick-apples
- Distance from downtown San Francisco: Approximately 70 miles
Apple-A-Day Ratzlaff Ranch
- Address: 13128 Occidental Rd, Sebastopol, CA 95472
- Website: No official website, but you can visit their Facebook page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/Apple-A-Day-Ratzlaff-Ranch-150823821623676/
- Distance from downtown San Francisco: Approximately 60 miles
Keep in mind that the availability of apple picking, hours of operation, and varieties of apples may vary by season and farm. It is always recommended to check the farm’s website or call ahead for the most up-to-date information before planning your visit.
Apple Picking Festivals and events in California
Gravenstein Apple Fair (Sebastopol, Sonoma County)
- Usually held in August
- Celebrates the Gravenstein apple variety
- Features live music, food and drink, arts and crafts, and family activities
- More information: https://www.gravensteinapplefair.com/
Apple Hill Harvest Run (Placerville, El Dorado County)
- Typically occurs in November
- A charity run event through the picturesque Apple Hill orchards
- Includes 8.5-mile and 3.5-mile run/walk options
- More information: https://www.applehillrun.org/
Julian Apple Days Festival (Julian, San Diego County)
- Usually takes place in late September or early October
- Features apple displays, music, dancing, and family activities
- Highlights local apple products, including pies and ciders
- More information: https://www.visitjulian.com/apple-days/
Mendocino County Apple & Cider Festival (Mendocino County)
- Held in September
- Showcases locally-produced apple products and ciders
- Offers tastings, food, and live music
- More information: No official website, but you can check their Facebook page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/mendocinoappleandciderfestival/
Oak Glen Apple Harvest Festival (Oak Glen, San Bernardino County)
- Typically runs from September through November
- A season-long celebration of apple picking and fall festivities
- Includes hayrides, live music, food, and crafts
- More information: https://www.oakglen.net/apple-harvest-festival
Please remember that the event dates, activities, and details are subject to change, so it is recommended to check with the event organizers or their websites for the most up-to-date information before planning your visit.
Tips for a Successful Apple Picking Experience
Apple picking is a fun and rewarding activity for the whole family. However, it can quickly turn into a frustrating experience if you are not prepared. Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your apple picking adventure:
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothes
- Bring sunscreen and bug spray
- Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly
- Call ahead to confirm the orchard’s hours and availability
- Bring cash or check, as some orchards may not accept credit cards
- Bring your own bags or containers for the apples
- Be respectful of the orchard’s rules and regulations
- Don’t climb on the trees or damage the fruit
- Sample the apples before picking to make sure they are ripe and sweet
- Have fun and enjoy the experience!
By following these tips, you can ensure a successful apple picking experience that will create memories for years to come.
Benefits of Apple Picking
Apple picking is a fun activity that offers many benefits for individuals and families. Here are some of the benefits of apple picking:
- Fresh air and exercise: Apple picking is a great way to get outside and enjoy the fresh air while getting some exercise. Walking through the orchard and carrying a bag of apples can help burn calories and increase heart rate.
- Family fun: Apple picking is a great activity for families to enjoy together. It can be a fun way to bond and create memories. Parents can teach their children about the different types of apples and how they grow.
- Healthy snack: Apples are a nutritious snack that are high in fiber and low in calories. Picking your own apples ensures that they are fresh and free of pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
- Supporting local farms: By picking apples at a local farm, you are supporting the local economy and helping to sustain local agriculture. It’s a great way to give back to the community.
- Learning experience: Apple picking can be a great learning experience for children and adults alike. It can teach about agriculture, the environment, and the importance of supporting local farms.
Apple Picking FAQs
What should I wear when apple picking?
Wear comfortable clothing and closed-toe shoes suitable for walking on uneven terrain. Dress in layers, as the temperature can change throughout the day. A hat and sunscreen are recommended for sun protection.
Do I need to bring my own bags or containers for apple picking?
Some orchards provide bags or containers for apple picking, while others may require you to bring your own. It’s a good idea to check with the orchard beforehand or bring your own reusable bags just in case.
How much does apple picking cost?
The cost of apple picking varies by the orchard and may be priced per pound, per bag, or as a flat rate for a specific container size. Some orchards may also charge an admission fee. Check with the specific orchard for their pricing structure.
Are apple orchards pet-friendly?
Policies regarding pets vary by orchard. Some orchards may allow pets on a leash, while others may not permit pets at all. It’s best to check with the individual orchard for their pet policy before visiting.