guides

🍎 5 Pick-Your-Own Apple Farms + Tips for Choosing the Best Ones

By Kyrie Collins, Macaroni KID Highlands Ranch-Parker-Castle Rock-Lone Tree Publisher August 23, 2022

Apple picking is a favorite fall activity for many families — visiting the orchard, breathing in the crisp air, and enjoying the time together. Apples are one of the easiest fruits to pick and use. They are hearty, easy to distinguish good from bad, have a long shelf life, and can be used in a wide variety of recipes.

Note: A spring freeze or snowstorm can affect the fall harvest. We recommend you call your destination before you make the drive.

Ready to go apple picking with your family?

Adam's Apple Orchard & Country Store
42135 County Road 43, Ault
(970) 760-0279

Open Saturday and Sunday from late August through early November, this orchard offers more than 150 varieties of apples, plums, and pears, as well as a do-it-yourself cider press, pumpkins, specialty preserves, and other locally produced agricultural products. While not certified organic, they practice natural and organic methods.

Visit adamsapplecolorado.com/picking-updates for the latest updates.


Ferrara's Happy Apple Farm
1190 1st St., Penrose
(719) 429-6300

One of Colorado's most diversified pick-your-own fruit farms with apples, blackberries, pears, and pumpkins, Happy Apple Farm opens for the 2022 season on Saturday, August 27. After opening weekend, hours of operation will be Thursday through Sunday from 9:00 AM till 4:30 PM.

The Deli opens Saturday, September 3 (weekends only). The Pumpkin Patch and free Hayrides will start Saturday, September 10!


Nelms Farms
5305 Orchard St., Golden
(303) 917-2707

Nelms Farm will be open Sunday (9/4) and Monday (9/5) of Labor Day weekend for the 2022 harvest; reservations are required. If they don't sell out, they will open more reservations another weekend.

They expect to have lots of potatoes, honey, and jam this year. Apples will be limited, and there may be a few early pumpkins. Come early for the best selection.


Orchard Valley Farms & Market 
15836 Black Bridge Rd., Paonia
(970) 527-6838
U-Pick fruits and vegetables are available from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM daily from mid-June through October. 

  • August: Peaches, nectarines, raspberries; tomatoes, chili peppers, okra, eggplant, cucumbers, summer squash
  • September: Peaches, apples, nectarines, winter squash, cantaloupe
  • October: Pumpkins, watermelon, gourds

Ya Ya Farm & Orchard
6914 Ute Hwy., Longmont
(303) 549-7447

Pick your own apples, pears, cherries, pumpkins, veggies, and flowers. While not certified organic, they practice natural and organic methods. Reservations are required for fruit picking only; learn more at yayafarmandorchard.com/u-pick-it

1. Select firm, bruise-free apples.
You can't really go by color as different variations of apples come in a wide variety of colors, from yellow to green, red, and even pink. But you can pick apples that are free of markings or discoloration.

2. Give it a twist.
When picking apples directly from a tree, give a little twist rather than pulling them straight off the branch. You don't want to risk pulling more than one apple from the tree, and picking the apple with the stem will help it last longer.

3. Don't throw.
Instead, place your apples gently into your basket. This will keep the fruit from bruising and going stale.

4. Keep them cool.
Storing your apples in the fridge or basement, away from windows and hot appliances, will help them stay fresh longer.

5. Wash before eating, but not any sooner.
This will also help prevent the apples from going bad.

6. Know your apples.
Apples come in many varieties. Some are better for baking, while others are best for snacking. Not sure which is which? Ask the farmer or another orchard worker. They will know best!

7. Bring your camera!
Capture the moments, the memories, and the autumn colors. Plan ahead and take that picture for your holiday greeting card!