Pick apples like a pro thanks to Florida Crystals®.
Apples are easy enough to find nowadays with nothing more than a trip to the corner store, but there’s something about strolling out into an actual orchard and picking your own that’s still enchanting even in modern times. Here, we will help you choose the right orchard, the right apples and the right way to enjoy it all.
Choosing an Orchard
Depending on where you live, you may have countless orchards to choose from, or just a few. Either way, here are a few things to look for before you grab your baskets and head out for a day of picking:
- Look for an organic orchard. As the only organic raw cane sugar is grown in the U.S., Florida Crystals® has a deep respect for nature. If you do too, look for an orchard that’s certified organic. You’ll get delicious apples that are free from toxic pesticides (and that you can snack on right in the rows if you get hungry).
- Prepare for the weather. Whether you choose to stroll through the orchard on a sunny day or to do your picking in the rain, be prepared to spend hours outside. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, consider a hat or sunscreen to reduce sun exposure, and dress for the temperature so you’re not too hot or too cold.
- Pack a cooler. Most orchards are working farms that open up to guests in the fall, not dedicated entertainment venues. As such, they may not have food and drinks for sale. If you’re traveling even an hour away from home, it’s smart to pack a lunch so you can refuel and hydrate during your adventure.
Picking Your Apples
Don’t settle for whatever’s at the local store. By going straight to the source, a local orchard, you can pick the best and freshest apples around, from tart Granny Smiths to sweet Honey Crisps. Doing your research will help ensure your trip to the orchard is a fruitful one. (Pun intended.)
Once you’re there, remember to:
- BYO Bag: Most orchards will supply paper or plastic bags to tote your apples around in, but bringing your own reusable bags is even better. They’re sturdy enough to hold a large haul of fresh fruit, and they’re friendlier on the environment.
- Pick From the Outside In: Even in prime apple season, you want the very best of the best, so start from the outside branches. This is where apples ripen the soonest (and they’re the easiest to get to as well). As the season goes on, you may have to make your way in closer to the trunk. Use a ladder or apple picker to access apples outside your reach.
- Pick Gently, But Firmly: Pulling straight down, and being careful not to snap thinner branches, pluck your apples from the tree with care. If other apples around yours happen to fall, pick them up, dust them off and add them to your bag. Apples that lie on the ground are likely to be lost to rot.
- Know What Varieties the Orchard Grows: Not all apples are ripe at the same time across the country, so be sure to ask around before setting out for the orchard if you have a particular variety in mind (or if your recipe calls for something unusual). Many orchards grow several varieties of apples, so it may even be worth it to visit the same orchard at various times of the year.
- Selecting a Recipe: If you didn’t pick a recipe before going picking, you’re going to need one now. With lots of ripe apples at your disposal, the possibilities are endless. Here are a few our chefs at Florida Crystals® have cooked up to squeeze every ounce of flavor out of the season’s most celebrated fruit.