APPLE PICKING SEASON
KICKS OFF ON LABOR DAY WEEKEND IN OAK GLEN!
Oak Glen’s Apple Picking Season officially kicks off on Labor Day weekend and runs through Thanksgiving weekend. You may find a few apple farms open prior to this date, but the majority of the farms officially start welcoming visitors in September.
Oak Glen’s apple orchards produce a variety of apple selections including the Vasquez and King David varieties, which are grown only in Oak Glen, as well as antique varieties no longer commercially available such as Ben Davis, Gravenstein and Pink Pearl.
Before 1940, Oak Glen grew apples mainly for export purposes. Then several farms began to sell apples, apple pies, apple cider and apple butter at roadside stands. Today now growers earn the majority of their profit from visitors who pick apples directly off the trees in the orchards.
Field Trip Boy and Field Trip Girl visiting Oak Glen, CA (2012)
My family and I have visited Oak Glen on two separate occasions. Once in 2011 to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary and in 2012 to go apple picking with our children.
In 2011, while visiting Oak Glen, my husband and I stayed at the Serendipity Ranch. The Serendipity Ranch is the only bed and breakfast located in Oak Glen and is surrounded by an abundance of nature and animal life. You can sit by the koi pond and relax in the park-like setting, or read a book under the wisteria-laden gazebo in the English garden.
Field Trip Girl enjoying the nature in Oak Glen, CA
The Serendipity Ranch is also a Certified Wildlife Habitat. During peak wildlife season (spring through fall), woodland creatures from weasels to coyote, bobcat and bears visit the ranch. If you are lucky enough, and visit in the wintertime, you may find snow on the mountain too.
In 2012, my husband and I took our kids back to the Serendipity Ranch to visit with the inn keepers and spend time with their animals. For guests only, the ranch is home to llamas, goats, deer, ducks and more.
Field Trip Boy hanging out with the animals at Serendipity Ranch in Oak Glen, CA
After visiting the Serendipity Ranch, we went to Riley’s Farm for some apple picking. Nestled in the apple growing foothills of historic Oak Glen, Riley’s Farm is a working apple orchard and living history farm featuring pick-your-own fruit, living history education, dinner theater, group banquet facilities and extended and historically-themed overnight stays.
Field Trip Girl visiting Riley’s Farm in Oak Glen, CA
They also offer year round educational trips for schools and homeschool groups.
Revolutionary War Adventure
The Civil War Adventure
Gold Rush Adventure
Old Joe Homestead Tour
Colonial Farm Life Adventure
Overnight Revolutionary War Adventure.
Riley’s Farm is located at 12261 S. Oak Glen Road in Oak Glen.
However, I bet you didn’t know that there are two additional apple farms in Oak Glen that are owned and operated by different members of the Riley family?
Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho features apple-wood smoked BBQ dishes and a bakery with homemade pies, hand-held pies, turnovers and cookies. Picnic grounds, a petting zoo, nature trails are also on the property. During apple season, they are open 7 days/week from 9am to 5pm.
Riley’s Apple Farm is celebrating 33 years of apple growing where families are entertained with old fashioned harvest fun! Their apple picking season runs Labor Day thru Thanksgiving Weekend. On the weekend they are open 10am – 4pm and weekdays by reservations only.
In addition to the Riley farms, there are several other smaller farms available for apple picking: Willowbrook Apple Farm, Law’s Cider Mill & Ranch, Wood Acres, Snow-Line Orchard (see California’s oldest Chestnut Tree here), Stone Soup Farm & Heritage Orchard and Parrish Pioneer Ranch.
My top 5 tips for apple picking in Oak Glen:
1. The best time to go apple picking is during the week when the farms are not as crowded.
2. The weather up on the mountain in unpredictable at times. I recommend that you bring a hat, sunscreen and a jacket for all scenarios.
3. You can bring your own reusable bags for apple picking.
4. There are a few public parks in the area where you can have a picnic.
5. Purchase a few homemade apple pies to take home with you for Thanksgiving. They freeze well.
To get your children inspired to go apple picking this fall, check out these apple learning activities on Pinterest.
Happy Field Tripping,
Disclosure: This is a non-sponsored post. All opinions and points of view are our own. Some images used by permission from Wikimedia Commons.