Recently I went apple picking for the first time, but when should you pick your favorite apple? Some friends and I visited the cutest apple orchard called Kuipers Family Farm. Kuipers farm is located a little over an hour SW of Chicago in Maple Park, IL.
Photo: Andie Cumber
On the farm they grow over 40 different varieties of apples. And harvest time is typically between mid August through Late October. Their fee for admittance is $12.99. Once you’ve paid, you’ll receive a bag to fill up. Before you get started picking they give a brief presentation on how to pick and discard the eaten ones. Next they’ll show you where the apples you can pick are located on the property. Don’t even think about trying to pick any of the other apples. Not only are they roped off, but there’s an attendant standing by to basically let you know they’re not ready for picking.
We were able to pick from three varieties, Jonagold, Jonathan and Honey Gold. Of the three, I liked Honey Gold the best. It wasn’t too sweet or too tart. Before you get started picking they give a brief presentation on how to pick and discard the eaten ones. Next they show you were the apples you can pick are located on the property
Below is a chart similar to the one you get at the farm. Specifically it covers the apple variety, the best time or picking, and taste/texture. In addition, the apples get rated on a scale of 1 – 5, for eating, baking and sauces. Of course, five being the best rating.
So when should you pick your favorite apple?
After picking apples, don’t forget to visit their store. There’s lots to pick (pun intended) from. I purchased some apple butter, vanilla caramel tea, Saigon cinnamon and red pepper jelly. Oh yea, I also got some apple cider donuts for a friend!
Hopefully by now, you know that I’m a sucker for trying a new spice. So when I was told that Saigon cinnamon is stronger in flavor that raised my eyebrows.
If you get the chance to apple picking wear a hat. The trees are out in the open so you’ll definitely get some sun. In addition wear sunscreen, insect repellant and comfortable walking shoes. Lastly check the weather report. The temperature that day was in the high 80’s and boy was I glad that I wore shorts and a short sleeve shirt.