It’s apple picking time. It’s more than keeping the doctor away or crunching into a juicy, rosy fruit. It’s about family fun and about choosing the perfect specimen yourself. Check the following u-pick places around Chicago for the weekend when your favorite apple is ripe for picking. You will find yummy cider donuts that probably won’t last the ride home, hay rides, petting zoos and fresh pies to go.
Drive north or northwest
Royal Oak Farm, amidst cornfields northwest of Chicago near the Wisconsin border, features apple French toast, caramel sundaes and lots for youngsters to do. Open now through Nov. 16, 2013, the farm features a restaurant, free petting zoo and music. Rides are a $2.50 token per person. For more information call 815-648-4141 and visit Royal Oak Farm Orchard. Royal Oak Farm is at 15908 Hebron Rd., Harvard, IL. Closed Sundays.
Elegant Farmer, north of East Troy in Wisconsin, sends its baked-in-a-bag-apple-pie to some upscale Chicago area groceries but it’s more fun to drive up there for a fall outing. You can dip your own caramel apple, browse an excellent deli for cheeses, baked goods and ham or ride an old-fashioned electric train ride into East Troy and back. The farm store is open year-round except major holidays. For more information visit Elegant Farmer or call 262-363-6770. The Elegant Farmer is as 1545 Main Street (County Highway ES), Mukwonago, WI.
Apple Holler, an easy on-off from I94 over the Wisconsin border in Sturtevant, draws crowds every fall weekend. Its apple pie, easy u-pick access and activities (some fees) attract families. For more information visit Apple Holler or call 262-886-8500. Apple Holler is 5006 S. Sylvania Ave. at Interstate 94 Exit 337, Sturtevant, WI.
Drive south or west
Garwood Orchard and Farm Market, over the Indiana border in LaPorte, is a major cider producer but also check out its apple crepes, apple bratwurst, dumplings, and pies. Full bakery, wagon rides, weekend grill, major cider producer. Apple crepes, pies, dumplings and cider, also trifle cake and apple bratwurst. For more information visit Garwood Orchard or call 800-588-0260. Garwood Orchard and Farm Market is at 5911 W. County Road 50 South, LaPorte, IN
Kuipers Family Farm, west of Chicago amid the farms near Maple Park, sells apples every day but does u-pick on Saturdays and Sundays. Families also come here for its Scarecrow Acres (fee), caramel apples, fudge and cider donuts. The farm is also a prime pumpkin and holiday tree-finding spot. For more information visit Kuipers or call 815-827-5200. Kuipers Family Farm is at 1N318 Watson Road, Maple Park, IL.