Embracing Fall: Apple Picking in Los Angeles

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. The changing colors of the leaves. Spiced apple cider. Scarves and boots. Pumpkin pie. Fall marks the end of hot summer days and sets the stage for the winter wonderland ahead.

Being a Northern California native, I have many memories of experiencing the changing of the seasons as a child through my young adult years. Although I love the amazing Los Angeles weather much of the year, I do miss the crisp essence of Fall in the air. In an effort to make it feel like Fall in LA to me, I’ve been bringing as much Fall as I can into my life. I’ve been wearing jeans and boots (with short sleeve shirts, of course), making pumpkin pasta, and hitting the local pumpkin patch for pumpkins and gourds. This past weekend, one of my best friends from high school, Whitney, came to celebrate my 31st birthday in LA. In preparation for her visit, we racked our brains for the perfect Fall activity. And then it hit us: Apple Picking!

Instantly our Google searching began. To our surprise, there are actually several apple orchards and fruit farms under two hours away from LA in Oak Glen, CA. As we began to plan our u-pick itinerary, we also started channeling the recent fashions of J. Crew, Ralph Lauren and L.L. Bean for the perfect outfit.

Whitney arrived in LA on Saturday and by Sunday, Whitney, my boyfriend and I were bursting with excitement for apple picking. The drive to Oak Glen was picturesque with rolling hills and open land. When we arrived in the heart of “Apple Country” we drove the windy road passing many orchards with an abundance of apple trees in full bloom.We stepped out of the car at Willowbrook Apple Farm into the fresh, crisp air, and felt as if we had been transported to the East Coast.

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Willowbrook Apple Farm is a family run farm that is loaded with charm – trees filled with apples, u-press cider mills, a barn filled with apple treats, and other seasonal delights. We were quickly oriented with the apple picking process at the farm, and off we went! Using a claw device attached to a long pole, we filled our bags with apples as we explored the orchards.

Nov5_image3We made sure to stop picking from time to time to savor the scenery around us and enjoy the chill of the air. We walked through the orchard to say “hello” to the pot belly pig and miniature horse in the farm. We also captured the many special moments with Instagram and Facebook pictures.

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When our bags were filled, we headed over to the u-press apple cider mill. We took turns loading apples into the mill and pressing out the juice. The result was a gallon of fresh apple cider.

Nov5_image7That evening we warmed the apple cider with a stick of cinnamon and a dash of Bourbon and recalled the adventures of the day. It was the perfect LA daytrip to embrace the Fall season. And now that I have a bag of apples on my kitchen counter, I think I see an apple pie or apple crisp in the week ahead!

Thank you Willowbrook Apple Farm for giving us a taste of Fall.

Nov5_image8What are your favorite Fall activities, apple picking tips, or apple recipes? Please share them with us!

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