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. And while you’re there, check out the extra offerings, like freshly baked apple desserts, warm apple cider, and pre-picked apples that you can easily grab and bring home for a quick treat.
Different apple varieties ripen at different times – some start as early as mid-August. However, many varieties are ready for picking in September, including Granny Smith, Honeycrisp and Gala. Later-ripening varieties, like Fuji, extend the fun of picking your own fruit until late August. But check the orchard’s website before you go to see what’s ready for harvesting.
A small u-pick orchard, Alldredge Orchards invites visitors to join them and pick their own apples. They’re open Saturdays and Sundays in September and October from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 per person, ages 2 and older. An admission wristband is required to pick apples. Hayrides, friendly barnyard animals and a play area make this a great spot for family fun.
Starting the first weekend in September, most of the 16 varieties of apples grown at Centennial Farms are available for pick-your-own. Later in September, Fuji apples will be ripe for picking. They usually have at least 10 different varieties available in the market for sale by the pound or in five-pound bags, as well as their delicious apple butter.
There’s u-pick fun for the entire family at History Weston Orchard and Vineyard with 7,000 trees on 15 acres, featuring 12 varieties of apples. 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.
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 September-October (while the fruit lasts).
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. All pick-your-own apples are $1.49 per lb. There is no cost to pick. 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.
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. They’re open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Sunday, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
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 farm. Check their Facebook page for exactly what produce is available when you’re ready to visit. When you go, 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.
The most popular apple varieties at Thierback Apple Orchard are easily the Mutsu and the Missouri Red. They may not be familiar to you, but once you taste them you’ll know why people keep asking for them. 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.