Jack's Guide to Apple Picking

Autumn’s arrival is, without a doubt, one of our favorite times of year. Of course, we miss the easy vibes of summer, and getting back into the work/school routine can be tough. But—it’s apple season! And here at Jack’s Hard Cider, we’re apple people. The trees in the orchards are heavy with blushing apples. This is more exciting than Christmas to us!

We encourage you to get outside before it’s too cold and enjoy fall’s bounty. Find a farm or orchard near you that offers pick-your-own apples, and hop to it! Whether you’re an apple-picking pro or a total newbie, we’ve got a few tips for how to best enjoy the autumnal glory that is apple-picking:

  • Dress the part: This isn’t the time to rock a stylish outfit. Even the most customer-friendly orchards (wide rows, small trees) require you to walk down dirt and grass lanes and reach up into trees. Wear sturdy, durable shoes and long pants that you won’t mind getting dirty. Leave the leather jacket at home in favor of denim or other heavy fabric that won’t get torn if it’s snagged on an errant branch. Bring a woolen beanie in case it gets breezy or the sun dips behind the clouds. And don’t forget the flannel! A plaid flannel shirt is practically mandatory for apple picking.
  • Bring sun protection: Yup, even though summer’s over, you still should be sporting sunscreen whenever you’re outdoors for a few hours. Hit up the old mug with SPF 30 to avoid the dreaded red nose, and wear a hat and/or sunglasses. Picking apples requires a good amount of looking up into the sky. Squinting the whole time is a bummer.
  • Go on a weekday late in the week: PYO orchards are generally mobbed on weekends in the fall, so if your schedule allows, avoid the crush of Saturday and Sunday. In the beginning of the week, the trees will be well picked over. If you can, wait until Thursday or Friday, when the remaining apples have had a chance to ripen for you.
  • Try obscure varieties: Walk past those rows of Gala and Golden Delicious apples—you can buy those any old day at the grocery store. Look for types of apples that you’ve never seen before and try those instead! Research heirloom varieties on your phone, or ask a person working in the orchard about the attributes of these obscure beauties. After all, some apples really are better for baking versus slicing and snacking.
  • Have a plan for all those apples: Apple picking is so fun that it’s easy to end up with more in your box than you anticipated. Once you’ve picked them, you can’t give the apples back, so have a few recipes on hand to work through your haul. Homemade applesauce is a breeze (you can even make it in a slow cooker!), or try a more decadent sweet treat with apple blossom bread pudding—our recipe calls for a full pound of apples! If you own a juicer, try making fresh apple juice; there’s nothing like it!
  • Don’t forget to refuel: An afternoon of apple picking can work up quite an appetite! Don’t forget to reward yourself with a hearty dinner and a crisp, refreshing Jack’s Hard Cider. Cheers to the season that’s all about apples!

Do you love to go apple picking? Got any tips to share? Let us know in the comments!

Jack’s Hard Cider — Produced from Pennsylvania Apples. Pressed On-Site. Never from Concentrate.

Emily Kovach

Photos, top to bottom: Bigstock; Polly Patrono-Carlson; Pexels