One of the greatest Canadian traditions happens in autumn; we head out of the city to get some fresh air, spend some time with horses and goats, and of course, pick apples straight from the tree. There is something magical about spending a few hours wandering through the orchards and fields, with grass underfoot and people laughing in the distance, apples, and pumpkins as far as the eyes can see. It’s a chance to spend some time with friends and family, appreciating the harvest and hard-working local farmers.
Each farm offers something extra. Sure, you can pick apples from the orchard and pumpkins from the field, but you can also jump on a hayride, get lost in a corn maze, and learn the day-to-day workings of a farm. From west to east, there are some amazing places to go apple picking across Canada. The dynamic fall colours and orchard charm will certainly inspire you to capture the moment—so don’t forget to bring your camera along with you for the occasion. We recommend the DSLR EOS Rebel T6i to capture those beautiful scenic photos. Or, perhaps try one of Canon’s mirrorless cameras, like the EOS M3 with its DSLR-like performance in a compact body. Now here’s your list!
—Taves Family Farms—
This is where you go when you want to experience an entire afternoon of country living. Taves is best known for their deliciously fresh apple cider, and you can even see how it’s made at one of the cider press demonstrations. They also have an observation window where you can watch a working beehive producing honey available for sale in their store. If you don’t feel like picking your own apples or pumpkins, just pick them up at the store, along with other delicious treats like caramel apples, pies, preserves, pickles, and more. For the young (or young at heart) there are also hayrides, zip lines, a corn maze and a petting zoo.
—Willow View Farms—
With a motto like “Our home, your farm” and 22 different varieties of apple to pick, you can’t go wrong at Willow View Farms. You can also enjoy a hayride out to the pumpkin patch where you can choose from 50 types of pumpkins, including the giants, or bring a picnic and take advantage of the beautiful fall weather. Make sure to stop by the barn to visit with the sheep and pigs, and don’t forget to try the apple cider slushies sold at the concession!
Apple Tip #1: Don’t let all your hard work go to waste. Store your apples in a cool place and they will last much longer. Apples kept in the fridge can last over a month (even up to two months), while apples kept in a cold storage or pantry area will last up to a week.
It can be hard work for apples to survive the harsh Saskatchewan winters, but the Petrofka Orchard—with help from the University of Saskatchewan Research Program—is making it work. Experience the beauty of the farm and local landscape by taking a tour, or just take a leisurely stroll through the orchards. There is also a beach by the river ideal for picnics and fishing; the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Their store carries a variety of gourmet apple products, including apple butter, apple sausages, apple cider vinegar (including infusions like orange peels, cinnamon, and rosemary leaves), apple jalapeno jam, and much more.
Apple Tip #2: Now that your fridge is full of apples, you might realize that you may have picked a few too many. Don’t worry; there are plenty of delicious ways to use up all those apples. For instance, apple butter goes really well on toast, in a parfait, alongside cakes and muffins, or spooned on top of vanilla ice cream. It also makes a great gift if you package it in cute little jars.
—Applewood Farm Winery—
Apple picking and wine tasting is a surprisingly wonderful combination of activities. After spending some time picking apples in the orchard, wandering through the fields of pumpkins and Indian corn, and getting lost in the corn maze, head over to the tasting bar to sample award-winning wines—their newest concoction is Apple Jack, which tastes something like bourbon mixed with apple cider—and learn about the process straight from the winemaker.
Even their website can’t help but exude all kinds of charm, and the farm itself is no different. After apple picking, you can visit the farm animals, go for a wagon ride, or walk down the nature trail. When you need to recharge, there is a great picnic spot by the pond, or you can just head over to the café for some homemade goodness. Chudleigh’s is famous for its baked goods, which you can find at many grocery stores across North America, but are also available fresh and ready to go from their bakery just down the road from the farm. You haven’t lived until you’ve tasted one of their caramel apple blossoms straight from the oven.
Apple Tip #3: The best thing about apples is that they can be added to almost any recipes. Grilled cheese sandwich? Absolutely! Cakes and cookies? Yes, please! Slow cooked with a pork roast? Definitely! Next time you’re wondering what to do with all those apples, and you’re tired of crumbles and pies, get creative with your recipes and have some fun. Check out these ideas for inspiration.
—Denis Charbonneau Orchard & Cidery—
Denis Charbonneau is worth the visit for the crepes alone. Sure, you can pick apples, take a walk on the trails through the orchard, ride the horse-drawn wagon, visit the mini-farm, and stop by the store for some gourmet preserves and cider, but the real treat is the Crêperie. Enjoy traditional Breton crepes topped with sweets such as fresh fruit, chocolate, and maple syrup, or enjoy a savory crepe topped with ham, eggs, cheese, asparagus, and more. On your way out, don’t forget to stop at their famous brewery to pick up some sparkling ice cider.
Apple Tip #4: Want to kick those apples up a notch? Make some apple infused cocktails! First, make some apple infused vodka, then add it to your favourite drinks, such as martinis, gimlets, and cosmos, or just enjoy it over ice. It’s refreshing, delicious, and on the nose for autumn dinner parties.
—Verger Belliveau Orchard—
Learn more about apple varieties, pollination, and growing techniques on the guided wagon ride tours through Verger Belliveau Orchard. Then head out to pick your own apples from one of the 70,000 trees, and wander through the corn maze before heading to the café for a snack. Thanks to the necessary pollination of the apples (as you will learn on the tour), Belliveau has fresh liquid honey for sale in their market. Belliveau is also known for their Scow Craft Cider and fruit wines (apples, pears, and cherries), so be sure to grab a bottle or two to take home and enjoy.
Apple Tip #5: Apple pectin is known to help brighten skin and reduce fine wrinkles, so why not add it to your beauty routine? You can apply freshly grated apple directly to your face for 15 minutes and then rinse, or combine it with oats for a great face scrub.
—Noggins Corner Farm Market—
Noggins Corner loves to get into the Halloween spirit with their Spooky Halloween Adventure. There’s a haunted house, a huge corn maze, duck races, wagon rides, and more. If those activities don’t interest you, you can go geocaching—a fancy name for an outdoor scavenger hunt—or head down the 3-km trail perfect for hiking, jogging or cycling. Along with apples and pumpkins, Noggins also has flowers and herbs to pick and is the home of Tideview Cider: sparkling, dry, sweet, and still cider handcrafted in small batches from freshly pressed apples.
Boates has apples and pears (60% of the apples are organic) available to pick in their lush fields, as well as freshly grown veggies and homemade jams at their farm stand. But what they are best known for are their vinegar and sweet cider. Boates is the only farm producing apple cider vinegar in Atlantic Canada, and they do it well, with varieties including balsamic, red wine vinegar, blueberry vinegar, raw and organic options, and perry vinegar, made from organically grown pears. Their cider is just as amazing and comes in sweet, organic, and apple/pear varieties, available freshly pressed at the farm stall and local farmer’s markets.
Apple Tip #6: Apples can also be used around the house, as a way to decorate for fall, or even as holiday ornaments. You could store some in a large bowl or tall glass vase, make tea light holders, a fresh wreath for the door, or use those old apples to give your home a delightful autumn scent by cooking up some stovetop potpourri.
Pick your own apples in Arlington’s beautiful orchards, enjoy a hayride and a tour, visit the pumpkin tower, sling-shot some apples, find your way out of the maze, or taste some delicious treats. Arlington has special events planned for Thanksgiving, Farm Day, and their Scarecrow Fest, including live entertainment, family attractions, and apple tasting. Arlington is also home to Malpeque Bay Hard Cider and Ice Cider brands, which are tart and sweet at the same time, and available to purchase at PEI liquor stores.
Apple Tip #7: Apple Pie! The most classic way to use all those apples you picked, but also the most delicious. Try a traditional recipe, go vegan or gluten-free, or get creative; pie is pie no matter how you bake it!
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