There is nothing that says autumn more than a bite of a fresh, crisp apple picked right off the tree. Give it a quick polish, sink your teeth in and let all that delicious sweetness explode in your mouth.
Missouri has apple orchards throughout the state that feature different varieties, from sweet to tart and everything in between.
Alldredge Orchards - Platte City
A small u-pick orchard, Alldredge Orchards invites visitors to join them and pick their own apples. They're open Labor Day weekend (Saturday, Sunday and Monday), 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and weekends through Nov. 1, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $3 per person, ages 2 and older. U-pick will not be available every weekend this year. Always check before coming out. A "Pick and Play" wristband is required to pick apples. PLEASE NOTE: Alldredge Orchards are under a mask mandate. Masks are required for ages 3 and older inside buildings (barns and restrooms) and wherever social distancing is not possible (hayride).
Centennial Farms - Augusta
Starting the first weekend in September, most of the 16 varieties of apples grown at Centennial Farms are available for pick-your-own. They usually have at least 10 different varieties available in the market for sale by the pound or in five-pound bags. Later in September, Fuji apples will be ripe for picking. Staying healthy is a priority for everyone this year. There will be no hayrides or school tours this year, and the orchard will not be giving food samples. Traffic in the market is one way. Masks are available for those who need them.
Historic Weston Orchard and Vineyard - Weston
There's u-pick fun for the entire family at Historic Weston Orchard and Vineyard, with 7,000 trees on 15 acres, featuring 12 varieties of apples. Their dwarf trees make picking easy for all ages. From hayrack rides to a pumpkin patch to zip-lining to eating at the in-house bakery, there is plenty of entertainment and quality outdoor bonding for the family. The apple-picking season runs August-November; the orchard is open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Huffstutter Orchards - New Franklin
A small, independent orchard just 25 miles from Columbia, Huffstutter Orchards grows apples and peaches and features a u-pick orchard of apples. Not only is it a fun outing for the whole family to stock up on apples, their website includes amazing recipes for your harvest, as well as the hours you can come pick-your-own in late September-October (while the fruit lasts).
Knowlan Family Farm - Burfordville
With more than 29 varieties of u-pick apples, you will find something new to try throughout the season at Knowlan Family Farm. Fall is a great time to visit, with u-pick apples, cider, pumpkins, hayrides and more. Visit their Facebook page to stay up-to-date on what's going on down on the farm. All pick-your-own apples are $1.49 per lb. There is no cost to pick. They're open Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. If you aren't in the mood to pick, drop by the farm store for some prepicked apples, bagged and ready to go. The farm is slightly more than a 30-minute drive from Cape Girardeau.
Schweizer Orchard - St. Joseph
U-pick apple season starts by the middle of August at Schweizer Orchard, continues to first fall freeze and offers a wide range of apple varieties from sweet to tart to spicy. The family-owned orchard also offers prepicked produce, a gift shop, snack and refreshment stand, picnic area, birthday parties and school tours. Apple picking overlaps the pumpkin patch, which opens in September. They're open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Sunday, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
Sunshine Valley Farm - Rogersville
Sunshine Valley Farm grows their own blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and peaches, but this time of year, it's the u-pick apples that bring visitors flocking to their location in Southwest Missouri. Check their Facebook page for exactly what produce is available when you're ready to visit. If you're coming to pick apples, they recommend you bring sunscreen and bug spray; they provide the bag you purchase to pick your apples, water and the fruit. Sunshine Valley is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and is located less than a half-hour from Springfield. All people in your party over age 3 need to wear masks.
Thierbach Apple Orchard - Marthasville
The orchard features more than a dozen varieties of apples that ripen from early August through mid-October. Their most popular varieties, the Mutsu and the Missouri Red, may not be familiar to you, but once you taste them you'll know why people keep asking for them. Thierback Apple Orchard also grows the more familiar favorite Jonathan and Delicious apples. They sell their apples pre-picked and washed in the market, or you can pick your own apples on Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. in September and early October. To pick your own, just park at the market and catch the free hayride over to the apple trees.
Written by Barb Brueggeman