We went apple picking last Saturday. It had been YEARS since I'd been.
Having a very active nearly 2 year old, we're always looking for things to do as a family that gets him out and active, and what better excuse in September than going apple picking? He loves apples, so it also serves as a little lesson in where his food comes from.
Wagner Orchards and Estate Winery was recommended to us by a friend.
It was perfect for us! Not ridiculously busy, equipment for Quinn to play on, apples (of course), a winery, and some good eats. I also love that it's family owned and run.
We bought a bag at the shop ($10 for a 13-15lb bag) and hopped onto the tractor's trailer. The tractor took us to the Gala section of the orchard and we walked back, picking as we went.
Quinn loved picking the apples (there were plenty of branches low enough for him), and tried to eat each and every one. We wandered down the path, filling our bag with delicious apples (they use very few chemicals and try to use natural pest control over insecticides, when possible).
We wandered over the barn where Quinn talked to the cows.
Wagner's also sells beef that's hormone and antibiotic free. They are pasture-raised (but are finished on corn...that they grow themselves).
We walked across the grass to visit with the horses and donkey.
We started back toward the buildings and "accidentally" wandered in through the winery door. There were a number of wines to choose from, but I was drawn to the ice fruit wines and picked up a bottle of the raspberry (they also had apple and blackcurrant, as well as some ice fruit wines blended with red), then followed my nose into the main shop.
There, I was tempted by some pies, strudels, sausage rolls, homemade Mennonite sausage...I wanted to tell them to just hand me a fork and put it on my tab, but I was good and only purchased some ground beef ($3.50 a lb - I made Lazy Cabbage Rolls with some of the beef and it was incredible!), a couple of strudels and some apple cider.
We went back outside and let Quinn loose on the the jungle gym!
I really enjoyed Wagner Orchards and it was a perfect pace for Quinn at this stage. It wasn't super busy, had close proximity parking, allowed him to pick his own apples and contribute, gave him a safe place to run around, offered a few extras (like seeing the cows and petting the horses...and I swear I heard a sheep around somewhere), and a jungle gym for him to play on. We're also supporting a locally owned and run family business.
It was a great family outing, and we will definitely be back!
Thing about picking apples with the kids is that you usually end up with more than you can eat...so what have I done with our apples?
* Apple Butter
* Harvest Pork and Apple Bake