Happy Apple Farm (credit: CBS)
The arrival of autumn also indicates the arrival of the fall harvest. It is the time when all the local farms welcome families to come in and start picking their own fruits and vegetables. A trip to one of these pick-your-own farms is a great way to introduce your children to the world of agriculture and farming, and to show them just how those delicious fruits and vegetables arrive at your local grocery store’s produce aisle. The cool nights and warm summer days in Colorado also means some truly sweet fruit to enjoy, but you have to be willing to drive a bit outside of Denver to enjoy it. Make a day-trip out of the experience, and select one of the following fantastic local farms to enjoy a day of apple picking and more. A previous CBS Local article has already looked at some great apple-picking spots, but with the new year, it’s a good time to take a second look at apple picking near Denver.
Photos: Fun Fall Activities
Delicious Orchards Farm Market
39126 Highway 133
Hotchkiss, CO 81419
It may be a bit of a drive, but it is totally worth a trip to Delicious Orchards Farm Market. It’s another small, family-run farm with some of the best fruits in Colorado. You’ll find lots of apples, pears, peaches and cherries to pick, depending on the season of course. While you are there, you can pick your own fruit and then visit the café for some yummy treats made from all the local fruits. For the grown-ups, there is also a great little wine tasting room, where you can sample local wines and ciders also made from locally grown fruits. There is a huge selection of Colorado wines, so you can try a few and pick up a bottle or three to take home. Since Delicious Orchards is a bit of a drive, why not make a weekend of it and enjoy the North Fork Camping area. You can even camp right in the Orchard Campground with lots of open space and beautiful views.
Related: Top Fall Family Getaways
Ya Ya Farm and Orchard
614 Ute Highway
Longmont, CO 80503
This Boulder farm has been a favorite of apple pickers for quite a while. Ya Ya Farm and Orchard specializes in heirloom apples, which means you won’t find your regular run-of-the-mill apples here. Instead of the same apples that you find in your local grocery store, you’ll be able to pick some truly special and amazingly delicious apples of your own here. Apple picking is charged per bag, and each bag will hold between five and seven pounds of apples, and the bags are provided. When you round up the family for this fun trip, you’ll want to allow around an hour for apple picking, meeting the animals and spending some time enjoying some amazing apple cider donuts and fresh apple cider. Ya Ya Farm and Orchard also hosts a variety of events and other fun ways to enjoy this family farm. Take a Cider Making Workshop and learn how to make your own at home, plus you can get all the ingredients and supplies to make your own gallon of cider. Or try the Evening in the Orchard event, with a full menu of delicious food and wine plus a three-course feast, perfect for a truly romantic night out.
Related: Top Fall Festivals In Denver
Happy Apple Farm
1190 1st St.
Penrose, CO 81240
Happy Apple Farm has lots of great events and a full calendar of fun ways to take your family for a day out on the farm. The apples include Jonathan, Gala, Red Delicious and Golden Delicious, plus if you head out in September, you’ll find lots of other great pick-your-own fruit to enjoy including gooseberries, raspberries, pumpkins and more. The weather this year has been particularly rough on the apple crop, so you may find some shipped-in apples from the Western Slope of Colorado instead, however that shouldn’t deter your trip to Happy Apple Farm. Check out the Fall Festival for hay rides to the pumpkin patch and amazing barbecue and fresh fruit pies. Also, be sure to visit the Country Store and you’ll get the most amazing cobblers, pies, jams, jellies, marinades, pickled garlic, apple butter and other freshly picked vegetables. After a trip to Happy Apple Farm, you’ll never look at your local produce department the same way again.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.