Sat, Sep 1, 2012
Apple Picking Is the Best
We Boyds like our seasonal rituals, and at this time of year that means one thing: apple-picking. Here are our recommendations.
Our Chicagoland apple-picking adventures go way back to 2004, when Jon and I celebrated our fourth anniversary and the promise of a growing family at an apple orchard in Woodstock, Illinois (perhaps this one? we don’t remember for sure). Alas, we miscarried that baby just a few weeks later — but we didn’t give up hoping, and five years later we got to bring two little girls along on our orchard outing.
I remember the first time we took Lucy and Rosie to pick apples. We had waited until pretty late in the season, so we were picking fruit on a very brisk October day. Ziegler’s Farm treated us right, though, with some cinnamon-sugar donuts and all-you-can-eat apples while you pick. As I recall, we barely made it home before naps overtook us all.
Click photos to enlarge.
Ziegler’s was closed the next couple of years, so we went on the hunt for a new orchard that might fall in the sweet spot of:
- not too far from our home in Chicago
- not too crowded
- not too schlocky
- plenty of apples, varieties, and goodies
Our experiment with Royal Oak Farm Orchard in October 2010 didn’t quite fit the bill. Although they did have apples and donuts, they also had pretty insane crowds and a bit of an amusement-park feel. That could be the right fit for some, but it wasn’t quite right for the Boyds.
Last year, we struck gold with a visit to Homestead Orchard outside of Woodstock, Illinois — a sweet little farm with lots of apples and a nice homey feel. The downside of Homestead Orchard is its lack of donuts, but we must admit we get our fair share of sweets in the Boyd household anyway. (And there’s always Spunky Dunkers.)
Alternatives for 2012 and onward
In past years, we’ve used this website as a resource (as well as good-old-fashioned Yelp) for finding orchards in the Chicago area. Sadly, many seem to be closed this year or have drastically reduced crops due to the early spring warmth which was followed by hard freezes.
But we still hope to enjoy our annual apple-picking adventure this year — and we’re especially delighted to hear that Ziegler’s (our 2009 destination) has reopened for business! So we may have to return to both Ziegler’s and Homestead this year.
There may well be a pie or my favorite apple cake in our future.
Have you found an orchard that’s worth a visit? We’d love to hear your recommendations.
This post was last modified September 1, 2012 at 8:01 pm