CALS Wellness Committee tip: Get out and enjoy apple picking season

The best time to go apple picking in Wisconsin is mid-September through mid-October. Here is a list of orchards and farms you may want to check out this month or next that are near Madison, Wisconsin.

Appleberry Farm
8079 Maurer Rd, Cross Plains, WI 53528
Appleberry Farm is a small family farm focused on pick-your-own and delicious local foods. The produce they grow include heirloom apples, pumpkins, asparagus, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. They are currently open Monday – Thursday from 9am – 12pm and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9am – 5pm. Due to COVID reservations are needed for Saturdays and Sundays and masks are required in their store.

Door Creek Orchard
3252 Vilas Road, Cottage Grove, WI 53527
Door Creek Orchard sits on two sites in the middle of what was once a typical Norwegian-American dairy farm dating back to the early 1800s. At this orchard there are fall fruits and cider available. Pick-your-own apples right now include McIntosh, Northwestern Greening, Cortland, and Jonafree. They are open Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 12pm – 6pm. Saturdays and Sundays they are open from 9am – 5pm. Due to COVID they require time-slot reservations for pick-your-own on weekends.

Alpine Ridge Orchard
5610 Alpine Road, Brooklyn, WI 53521
Alpine Ridge Orchard is owned by a young family that sat down in 2013 and decided they wanted their children to be outside in the country and know where their food comes from. At this orchard they offer apples, apple cider, apple cider doughnuts, pumpkins, and products. For picking they have Jonamac, Honeygold, Snappymac, Zestar, Brookfield Gala, Golden Supreme, Cortland, Honeycrisp, Buckeye Gala, and Gale Gala. In store they will have some other options to choose from. They are open from 12pm – 6pm Wednesday through Friday, and 10am – 6pm Saturday and Sunday. This orchard will only be requiring masks inside the building, but they do ask that visitors socially distance outside.

Sutter’s Ridge Farm
2074 Sutter Dr, Mt Horeb, WI 53572
Sutter Ridge Farm has their very own apple orchard, pumpkin patch, and corn maze activity area. Many children visit this farm, so they ask that you please keep your pets at home. Right now at Sutter Ridge you can pick Ultima Gala, Blondee, Pioneer Mac, Royal Cort, Freedom, Crimson Crisp, Haroldson, RubyJon, and Honeycrisp. They also have a nice list on their website that tells you the estimated ripening, flavor, best use, u-pick status, and pre-picked status so make sure to check that out before heading over! They are open Thursday through Sunday from 10am – 5pm.

2227 Fitchburg Rd, Fitchburg, WI 53575
Eplegaarden all started when Vern and Betty Forest bought the farm and started to plant 1,000 apple trees in the 1890s-90s. Every week they have more varieties as they ripen from August through October. They offer pick-your-own and prepicked bags in their farm store. In the farm store they also have fresh apple cider, honey, and cider doughnuts. They are open Tuesday through Thursday from 9am – 1pm, and Friday through Sunday 9am – 5pm.

Now, before you head to the orchard remember to keep these in mind…

  1. Pick from the outside in because apples on the outer branches ripen first.
  2. Pick, don’t shake. Even a gentle shake can cause a bunch of apples to fall to the ground.
  3. Avoid bruising. Bruised apples rot faster.
  4. Have an idea of what you are going to make with your apples (apple desserts, apple butter, cinnamon-apple pork chops).

What’s better than spending a relaxing fall day at the apple orchard with family and friends? I can’t think of anything – enjoy!