Few activities herald the arrival of fall quite like apple picking. Leaves on the trees are changing, and apples are ready to be plucked. And we know this is only the beginning. October is the month to go apple picking in most parts of the country. But we’ll get to enjoy crisp, flavorful apples, delightful apple pie and pastries, and warming apple cider for months to come. If you’re planning a day trip to an apple orchard, here are several within driving distance of your Chicago apartment where you’ll find farmer’s market quality produce and baked treats.
Located in pleasant Woodstock, All Seasons Apple Orchard grows and harvests 11 apple varieties. The family-friendly establishment also features a petting zoo, corn maze, and pumpkin patch. All Seasons is open every day of October.
One of Apple Holler’s greatest selling points is its rows of dwarf trees, from which even most children can pick apples without a ladder. Other opportunities for entertainment include mazes, musical productions, and puppet shows. The Sturtevant, Wisconsin apple orchard is less than an hour’s drive from the Evanston apartments at AMLI Evanston. The orchard runs a year-round restaurant, serving apple delicacies and a range of comfort food.
Just a 50-minute drive from the South Loop apartments at AMLI 900 and AMLI Lofts, County Line Orchard has 40 acres of U-pick apples and loads of other orchard space it uses for cultivating pre-picked apples. You can make a full day out of visiting this northwest Indiana space, enjoying fresh-baked doughnuts for breakfast and using the orchard’s public campfire to grill hot dogs or roast s’mores. County Line often hosts farm-to-table dinners and music jams on weekends.
Also located in northwest Indiana, Garwood Orchard has weekly specials on apples and pumpkins. Every weekend during the season, the family-run apple picking destination hosts free and fun live music events.
If no-frills, no-nonsense apple picking is what you’re after, Heinz Orchard in Libertyville could be your ideal destination. At the time of writing, the orchard had only Empire and Red Delicious apples left on its trees for the season. Heinz Orchard is 15 minutes from AMLI Deerfield.
Woodstock’s Homestead Orchard has a stately feel, which is enhanced by the beautiful collection of glassware and handcrafted items in its store. This apple picking destination cultivates 23 types of apples, cherries, and pears for picking.
With hay bales for kids to climb and a petting zoo for additional entertainment, Honey Hill Orchard is anything but spartan. It’s U-pick trees contain more than a dozen apple varietals. The family-friendly Waterman apple picking destination is a 40-minute drive from AMLI at Seven Bridges.
With 35 varieties, Jonamac may have the greatest diversity of apples in the Chicago area. Other attractions include a bakery, corn maze, barnyard, and petting zoo.
Kuipers Family Farm grows more than 20 apple varieties. This is remarkable, considering apple picking is only a relatively small part of the farm’s operations. The hayride from the parking lot to the orchard is a highlight for many visitors, as are the general store treats. After apple picking, indulge in caramel apples, donuts, and homemade pies from the general store.
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