If you love all things apples, here are some suggestions for where to pick your own in Pennsylvania, plus things to consider before heading out.
Fall is all about apples. Apple pie. Apple crisp. Apples in the school lunch box. Apple cider. Hard cider. Caramel apples. Apple cider donuts.
Pennsylvania is a great state to live in if you love all things apples. It’s the fourth largest apple producer in the United States with more than 21,000 acres dedicated to various varieties. Not all of the apple trees in orchards are available to the public for picking, but there are over 100 orchards throughout the state where you can wander through rows of apple trees, picking ripe, juicy fruit.
We’ve chosen seven local orchards to highlight the best of what Pennsylvania has to offer during the apple picking season. Located throughout the state, these orchards are regional favorites. Some are no-frills where you pick apples and rush right home to bake up a pie. Others offer reasons to stick around a while such as playgrounds for kids or on-site restaurants.
U-pick apples starts in September at Brace’s Orchard, a family-owned and -operated Luzerne County fruit farm that’s been in business since 1828. The friendly staff explains what apples to pick before guests head out to fill their bags. In addition to apple picking, Brace’s offers wagon rides in the fall. Stop by the farm store for freshly made apple cider made from a blend of at least 10 varieties of apples and hard cider made from their own fruit.
Burch Farms Country Market and Winery
Burch Farms in Erie County is a great place to spend time with friends and family in the fresh country air. Pick your own apples seven days a week from their orchards. From the on-site store, purchase local honey, bakery products, and more. Burch Farms also operates a winery with wines made from fruit grown in Erie, the largest grape-growing region in the state.
Gardiner’s Orchard in Bradford County has dwarf-sized apple trees so even the littlest apple pickers can reach the ripe ones with ease. Wagons are available for hauling both apples and kids. U-pick begins mid-September at this family-friendly orchard with a large variety of fruit. Weekends in late September and early October, they host the FALLBrook Festival with local vendors.
During the season, Linvilla Orchards offers pick-your-own apples daily. Tickets to pick must be purchased in advance at this family-friendly Delaware County farm that also has a playground and a barnyard with deer, horses, goats, sheep, and chickens that guests can visit. Adults will enjoy the beer garden at the orchard. If you plan your picking visit late in the afternoon, stick around for one of Linvilla’s Fall-Autumn Moon Hayrides that begin at the end of September when the days get shorter.
Masonic Village Farm Market
The beautiful Lancaster County farm has been in business for over 100 years. Apples are just one of Masonic Village Farm Market’s many fruit crops. Visitors to the orchards find a variety of apples to pick Thursdays through Sundays during the season. Before or after picking, visit the Orchard View Café that’s open through October to enjoy ice cream produced in micro-batches at Windy Knoll Creamery in Chambersburg and views of beautiful Lancaster County from the café’s outdoor seating.
Weekends in September and October are for apple picking at Soergel Orchards, located in Allegheny County. Soergel offers several varieties of U-pick apples, and additional varieties from their own orchards are available in the farm store. Soergel is more than just an orchard. On-site, there’s an organic, natural, gluten-free, and allergen-free food store, a bakery, a deli, and an outlet for Pennsylvania’s Arrowhead Winery which produces traditional and fruit wine.
Way Fruit Farm
Just 10 miles from Penn State’s main campus in State College, Way Fruit Farm—which has been in business since 1826—invites guests to pick apples on Saturdays and Sundays during the season. The Centre County farm hosts other events during the apple-picking season, too, including a music festival and a fall craft show.
Before you head out to pick, keep these things in mind.
- If you’re taking young children to pick apples, contact the orchard ahead of time to find out if they cater to kids. Many orchards have dwarf trees specifically to make it easy for little ones to pick their own apples. You can still take kids if the orchard doesn’t have dwarf trees, but know you’ll probably be lifting them so they can pick.
- Confirm the days and times that guests may pick apples. Some orchards allow picking only on certain days of the week.
- Some orchards are cash only.
- Not all orchards provide baskets or bags. You may need to bring your own.
- Apples do not continue to ripen after they are picked so choose the ripest ones to pluck off the branches. Apples on the outside of the tree will be riper than apples on the inside of the tree so pick the outermost apples first.
- Place apples in your bag or basket gently. They bruise easily and a bruised apple rots more quickly.
- To keep your apples fresh at home, store them in a plastic bag in your refrigerator’s crisper. The plastic bag will keep them separate from other produce so the ethylene gas the apples emit won’t speed up their ripening.
- Many Pennsylvania U-pick apple orchards also have farm stores where you can buy cider, pies, donuts, and more that shouldn’t be missed.