guides

🍎 7 Tips for Choosing the Best Apples & Where to Go to Pick Your Own

By Kyrie Collins, Highlands Ranch-Parker-Castle Rock-Lone Tree Publisher September 21, 2021

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.

Ready to go apple picking with your family?
Note: A spring freeze or snowstorm can affect the fall harvest. We recommend you call your destination before you make the drive.

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

Open Saturday and Sunday from early September 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 www.adamsapplecolorado.com/picking-schedule for the latest updates.

Ferrara's Happy Apple Farm
Due to a late freeze in April, U Pick Apples are not available in 2021
1190 1st St., Penrose
(719) 429-6300

One of Colorado's most diversified pick your own fruit farms with apples, blackberries, pears, and pumpkins in the fall. Free hayrides and free admission! The Country Store has a wonderful selection of Jams, Jellies, Marinades, great Apple Butter, and much more. See What's in Season now.

Nelms Farms
Open Labor Day weekend only in 2021
5305 Orchard St., Golden
(303) 917-2707
Pick your own pesticide-free and chemical-free apples, peaches, potatoes, and pumpkins by reservation only. You can also purchase local honey produced by their own honeybees. New this year: Bee Tours. Open throughout the summer with advanced reservation you can spend an hour with the bees. They will suit you up, open the honeycomb, and introduce you to the Queen. 

Orchard Valley Farms & Market 
15836 Black Bridge Rd., Paonia
(970) 527-6838
U-Pick fruits and vegetables are available daily from mid-June through October. Apples are available til mid September. Find the Harvest Schedule at orchardvalleyfarms.com.

Ya Ya Farm & Orchard
U Pick Fruit is sold out for 2021

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 there are many different variations of apples that 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 be sure to give a little twist rather than pulling it straight off the branch. You don't want to risk pulling more than one apple from the tree, and by picking the apple with the stem, it will help it to 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!