As I frequently do in my constant quest for “fun” experiences to do with our kids in LA, I stumbled upon Apple Picking – DURING apple season! Usually I stumble on great ideas way too late or way too early, then forget…
We picked (ha!) Los Rios Rancho in Oak Glen as our destination, since – in addition to picking your own apples – they offered a petting zoo, horseback rides, live music and a general store with locally made apple products. They even provided a sample itinerary for nerds like me who like to plan.
The ranch was about an hour and a half away, with an elevation of over 4,700 feet. Weather on the site suggested it could be cold, so of course I overdressed us… With the sun out, it felt quite warm – especially for a horseback ride, which Zoe loved!
But first, we picked apples. The orchard was staffed with young people who provided direction and education. On November 17, we were near the end of the season which lasts from September through December 1, so while we could taste all sorts of apples in their general store (and we did!), apple picking choices were limited. Our apple of the day to pick was an Arkansas Black.
Here are cool apple facts we learned from our high school guide:
- The Arkansas Black was apparently a favorite of Walt Disney and was therefore chosen as the apple for Snow White. At this fact, Zoe said, “But wasn’t that apple poisoned?”
- They are great long-term apples and last up to 9 months!
We grabbed our bag to fill and set off to take an actual apple from an actual tree. As you’ll see below, each girl had her own approach.
Apple Pickin’ – Ella Style
Apple Pickin’ – Zoe Style
Both worked, though one was clearly more fun to watch. After apple picking we headed to the Little Seedling Ranch (fancy name for petting zoo) area and almost got a goat.
With a full bag and stinky children (goat, horse, overdressed), we headed to Oak Tree Village nearby, which featured shops with local and handmade items and a bakery called Apple Annie‘s, proudly featuring a 5-pound “Mile High Apple Pie”, no joke. We did not bring one of those home.
That said, a few days after we got home, while Dad was in San Francisco for a conference, we girls made our very own “Perfect Apple Crumble“. How could you go wrong with a name like that? It did not disappoint.
The girls did all the compiling (that’s what I call cooking) – including coring our fresh Arkansas Black apples picked by their very hands from a real tree. It was delicious and super easy to make!
And so, there’s a chance annual apple picking will be in our future. Who knows?