The awesome odor of an apple pie cooking in the oven conjures memories of home or grandma's house for many people. Iowa is fortunate to have numerous apple orchards. Picking apples is educational and fun for the whole family. Not to mention, apples may be dehydrated, frozen, or canned to preserve for use over the harsh Midwestern winter. These three apple orchards in the Hawkeye state are ripe with apples this time of year. Check 'em out!
- Allen’s Orchard: Allen’s Orchards is located near Linn Mar High School in Marion. Cortland, Gala, Golden Supreme, Honeycrisp, Macintosh, Red Free and Wealthy apples are all available for picking. Less mobile visitors may prefer to purchase apples straight from the onsite store. Weddings, field trips and bonfires are welcome at the orchard. Reservation information and hours of operation are available online.
- Center Grove Orchard: Center Grove Orchard, located in Cambridge, presents a festival each fall. Visitors may purchase apple varieties such as Autumn Crisp, Cortland, Crimson Crisp, Empire, Gala, Golden Supreme, Honeycrisp, Jonathan, McIntosh and Snow Sweet. Active visitors may choose to walk down to the orchard and select their own apples. The festival includes a corn maze, corn pool, farm animals, hop-a-long horses, pedal karts, pedal tractors, pig race, hayrides, jumping pillows, rubber duck races, a super slide and more. The Hay Café serves lunch and dinner. The bakery and coffee shop offer special treats. Visit the website for further information.
- Iowa Orchard at Granger and Urbandale: Iowa Orchard offers two locations for apple picking family fun, Granger and Urbandale. While currently, Honeycrisp apples are ready and ripe for picking, other varieties will be ready soon, such as Cortland, Empire, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Jonathan, Macintosh and Red Delicious. The onsite baker and gift shop offers favorite fall treats such as caramel apple, Dutch crumb caramel apple pie, cookies, specialty breads, apple dumpling rolls and fudge. Dried fruit, honey, sorghum, preserves and sauces are also sold in the bakery and gift shop. Hours and directions are available on the website.
(Photo is courtesy of Cats on Apple Crates as uploaded by Suzy Morris at Flickr’s Creative Commons.)