Michigan's Fall season is right around the corner. With it comes sweater weather, pumpkin patches, and apple picking.
Did you know that Michigan is the nation's third largest producer of apple trees? That's according to michiganapples.com. They go on to say that,
There are more than 14.9 million apple trees covering 34,500 acres on 775 family-run farms in Michigan.
Aside from the sheer number of apples coming from the Mitten State, we're also home to a wide variety of apples, some of which I've never even heard of until today.
Each one of those varieties, like every other crop, has a peak time for harvesting. But, how do you keep track?
Well, michiganapples.com also helps with that as they've put together a very handy chart showing each type of apple and when they'll be "ready". Let's go over just a few of the more popular kinds and when to pick them:
Easily one of the most popular, Gala apples are not too sweet, soft, and delicious. According to michiganapples.com, the best time to pick them is September 5th.
2. Golden Delicious
Described as sweet with a "gingery-smooth" taste, the Golden Delicious apple is best when picked on September 30th.
Very crisp, a little sweet, the Fuji varietal is best picked around October 9th.
While I've never personally experienced this kind of apple, it apparently is very firm and crunchy. But, is also said to be juicy and sweet. Look for this apple on October 25th.
Whether you're looking for any of the above-mentioned apples or, perhaps, some of the less popular versions like the Jonathan, Ida Red, Rome, the Braeburn, and more, you can see the full chart of when to pick them here.
Okay, But...Where Do I Get Them?
Now that you know when you should pick these apples, where do you go to do the picking?
In Kalamazoo and the surrounding areas, we have plenty of local farms and orchards that offer seasonal U-pick experiences. Yes, you could probably find your favorite apple at the closest Meijer. But, if you want to support local growers, consider giving these a visit:
1. Corey Lake Orchards - Three Rivers
Family-owned since 1961, Corey Lake Orchards they grow everything from green beans to corn and, of course, apples. You can check either their Facebook page or website for updates about what's in season and when you'll be able to do your very own apple picking.
2. Husted's Farm Market - Kalamazoo
Apples, peaches, cherries, you name it...Husted's Farm Market probably has it. They also make their own cider, salsa, and homemade pickles. See their produce calendar and specials on their website or follow them on Facebook.
3. Schultz Fruitrdige Farms
Schultz Fruitridge Farms has been family owned for three generations. You can either browse their market of already picked produce, pick it yourself, or order online. See what's in season on their website or follow them on Facebook.
4. VerHage Fruit Farms and Cider Mill - Kalamazoo
Does VerHage Fruit Farms have fresh produce? Yes. Did I forget all about that produce as soon as I saw their selection of freshly made donuts and pies? Also, yes. VerHage Fruit Farms has been family-owned since 1960 and, to this day, uses a 125-year-old press to make their cider which you can watch when you visit. See what's in season, their hours, and more on their website or follow them on Facebook.
5. Gull Meadow Farms - Richland
Gull Meadow Farms is more than just an orchard. It's a great place to spend the day with the family. They have a petting zoo, an entire area dedicated to fun for the kids, and a market where you can find jams, pickled veggies, and whatever produce is in season. See everything they have to offer on their website and follow their Facebook page for any updates.
Beyond the Kalamazoo area, there are plenty of local farms to choose from. See an even more detailed list of local farms from kzookids.com and michiganapples.com.
Speaking of the Fall season, we have some of the most breathtaking landscapes in Michigan. Especially when the leaves start to change colors. Want to take a road trip to see them all? Check this out:
10 Stops For a Great Fall Colors Road Trip in Michigan
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