By Michelle Reese

It’s apple season, and picking them yourself can be a fun way to spend an afternoon with your friends or family. (It's also an activity that's conducive to social distancing!) Apples are one of the easiest fruits to pick, and there are so many ways you can use them in your home. Eat them fresh, cooked or canned. Use them in your baked goods, or even use them to add a natural touch to your fall decorations. Apples are fat, sodium and cholesterol free and will last quite a while if stored in proper conditions.

Where to Go in Bucks

Solebury Orchards

3325 Creamery Road, New Hope
Hours: Thursday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Closed Monday – Wednesday)

Apple picking has begun at Solebury Orchards! Tractors and wagons take visitors out to the trees for picking on Saturdays and Sundays. Picking continues through September and October. Visit the orchard store for fresh apple cider, cider slushies and heavenly cider donuts.

Please wear a mask and practice social distancing. There is also a hand washing station behind the barn.

Styer Orchard

97 Styers Lane, Langhorne
Hours: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Check their Facebook page before coming out though.)

Styer Orchard offers pick-your-own apples (and more!) throughout the season. Walk or take a wagon out to orchards. Picking and wagon rides are free. Purchase what you pick. On your way out, visit the Market (a separate entity from the Orchard) for fresh apple cider, apple cider donuts and more fall treats.

Please wear a mask while in the stand area, on the hayride, and whenever it isn't possible to be six feet away from others.

Tabora Farm & Orchard

1104 Upper Stump Road, Chalfont
Hours: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily

Tabora offers pick-your-own apples begins Saturday, September 19. Plus, visit Saturday and Sunday, October 3 and October 4 for Tabora's Great Apple Festival! There will be a huge variety of apples, music and games.

Shady Brook Farm 

931 Stony Hill Road, Yardley
Hours: Wednesday – Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday – Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

This year, pick-your-own crops at Shady Brook Farm can only be accessed via FallFest. FallFest admission includes wagon rides to pumpkins, apples and sunflowers. (Apples and sunflowers are while supplies last – typically until early October.) In addition, you'll have access to the 5-acre corn maze, jumping pillows, spider web crawl, playground, re-designed SBF 500 pedal go-carts and animated chicken show. Timed tickets must be purchased in advance to limit the number of guests at any one time. Tickets are $10 per person on weekdays and $12 on weekends. (Weekends start at 5 p.m. on Friday.) Children under the age of 2 are free. Prices will increase after October 1.

Shady Brook Farm has a number of new procedures in place to provide a safe environment for their guests and staff. Guests over the age of 3 must wear masks when checking in and out of the farm and when social distancing is difficult. There will be sanitizing stations throughout the farm. Read more about their guidelines HERE.

Apple Picking Tips

If you decide to pick apples yourself, be sure to call the local farm you’re visiting to ensure their apples are ready for picking. Good farmers will also be able to give you tips on what to look for to guarantee a high quality apple, like the particular color you should look for when picking a specific type. Picking apples is easy, and their large size makes it so even young children can join in without the fear of crushing that you might have with a more delicate fruit. To pick an apple from the tree, roll the apple upwards off the branch and give a little twist. Don’t pull straight away from the tree or try to get apples to fall by shaking. Always select firm, bruise-free apples and try to leave the stem on the fruit as it will help them store longer. Place apples in bags or baskets gently as bruises will cause them to go bad sooner.

Apple Storage Tips

Once you bring your apples home, keep them in a cool dry place where they won’t freeze. Pick out all apples that have any soft or bruised spots. These are fine to eat but should be eaten first instead of storing. Apples that will be eaten within a week or two should be stored in perforated plastic bags in the refrigerator. Other apples can last several months when stored properly. Wrap apples separately in individual sheets of newspaper, being careful not to use paper with colored ink. Wrapping in paper prevents contact between the apples, so one rotten apple won’t spoil them all. Don’t wash apples until just before using to prevent spoilage.

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