What to Know
Some orchards are open, while others debut a little later in September
Pears are available in some places, in addition to apples
Few fruits give us pie-in-the-sky expectations, of the most personal sort, like the apple.
Consider its magical and often powerful properties — just ask Snow White about those, or myriad other fairy tale characters — and consider all of the apple-based games we play, from apples-on-strings at Halloween to the fortune-telling Stem Twist.
But the apple's most potent power?
It has a knack for compelling even the biggest non-bakers out there to swear they will make a pie this fall, after they visit an orchard and pick all of the apples by hand.
Goodness, even a few jars of apple butter may be within this person's suddenly inspired abilities.
If this is you — and, let's be honest, it is pretty much all of us, however passionate we feel about pommes — then your moment to put your money where your mouth is has arrived. Or, in this case, honey, not money, if you plan on creating some apple honey biscuits or cookies with your orchard-cool bounty.
For apple season is in full, shiny-skin'd, stem-topped swing around Julian, one of the most apple-amazing spots in all of the Golden (Delicious) State.
Yes, it is still warm. No, autumn isn't here yet.
And yet? Orchard Life is in full and juicy swing, which means that you and the family (or a friend who also swears to make pies this year) can pop by the mountain-y marvel of a small-town hamlet for a day of pickery.
Apples & Art Orchards/Gastil Mountain Farms will be in the U-Pick zone beginning on Sept. 7, and if you're looking for Arkansas Black apples, as well as Red and Golden Delicious types, you're in luck. Oh yes, and there's the occasional heirloom variety, too.
Apple Starr Orchards is observing weekend hours, and the pear people out there will be jazzed to hear their favorite juicy fruit is available for the picking. Well, fruit can sell out, so arrive earlier in the day.
The U-Pick scene at Calico Ranch and Cidery? The property is not expecting to open that this year, but the hard cider tasting room just opened a couple of Saturdays back.
There are other spots around town, too, to consider, like Julian Farm & Orchard and Volcan Valley Apple Farm, which plans to open on Sept. 13, after some apples ripen up.
More important than you setting out all of the pie-making ingredients on your kitchen counter back home? Checking in with the web site of the orchard you hope to visit, since every property observes its own dates, hours, and rhythms.
Get the specific info you need before making the trip Julian-ward, and, of course, don't forget to clear the backseat for a bag or two of pie-perfect apples.
And if you don't bake a pie this year, like you swore you would? Munch/crunch away, with no guilt, because there's something rather perfect about an apple you picked yourself.