They keep the doctor away. They make teacher happy. And they never fall far from the tree. Crisp, sweet, and perfect in a pie — apples are a staple of the fall season. But the only thing we enjoy more than eating apples is the long-standing autumn tradition of apple picking.
September to early October just happens to be prime pickin’ season. And, as luck would have it, the Chicagoland area has some of the best and most accessible apple orchards in the midwest! So grab a few baskets, pile the kids in the car, and head out to fetch some fruit!
d’aprile properties is here to share a few tips that will make you the perfect picker. Read all the way down to see a list of some of the coolest orchards in the area!
TIP ONE: START ON THE FRINGE
Apple trees naturally grow outward — meaning the apples closest to the trunk will be the youngest, while ones on the outside branches will be the most ripe. Remember, the ripening process ends at the time of the pick, so make sure you’re selecting apples that are ready for eating (preferably after covering them in caramel).
TIP TWO: DON’T YANK
Be gentle in your picking. Pull upward, with a slight twist, and your apple will pop right off the branch. Yanking sharply can harm the tree. Above all – DON’T SHAKE THE TREE. Shaking will cause multiple apples to fall, and bruise. It’s a terrible waste.
TIP THREE: BE GENTLE!
As previously mentioned, apples bruise quite easily. By tossing apples into your basket, or piling them so high that they weigh down on each other, you risk bruising — which speeds up the rotting process. What’s worse, rot spreads, meaning one bruised apple could ruin your whole bunch.
OUR FAVORITE LOCAL ORCHARDS:
APPLE HOLLER: 5006 S Sylvania Ave, Sturtevant, WI — 65 miles north of Chicago
ALL SEASONS ORCHARD: 14510 IL Route 176, Woodstock, IL — 65 miles northwest of Chicago
COUNTY LINE ORCHARD: 200 S County Line Rd, Hobart, IN — 40 miles southeast of Chicago
HEINZ ORCHARD: 1050 Crest Road, Green Oaks, IL — 40 miles north