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Where to go apple picking near Los Angeles

Take a drive out to these top U-pick farms this apple picking season, where you’ll find fruit aplenty and family fun

By Leila Elihu and Time Out editors

Apple picking season, which generally runs from Labor Day through Thanksgiving, draws apple-loving Angelenos to surrounding farms for a fresh taste of fall. While the trek may be an hour-or-two drive from the city, many of these U-pick farms offer a day of worthwhile activities, from fresh cider pressing to petting zoos and archery—hence why it earns its spot in our guide to the best things to do in the fall—and this year especially, it’s providing a bit of outdoor-only, socially distanced fun and a bit of a change of scenery.

Here, we’ve gathered a list of the best U-pick apple farms around Los Angeles, the majority residing to the east in the apple country of Oak Glen, and updated their new rules and regulations (see also: you touch it, you pick it). Purists can eat their apples straight from the tree, while others may choose to press them into a cider or bake a sugary confection that could rival the best pies in Los Angeles. No matter how you slice it, countless farm fresh apples are awaiting so that you can stock up and finally get to having that apple a day, doctor’s orders.

Best places for apple picking in L.A.

1. Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho

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Ripe apples are in full bloom at Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho, available for picking from September through Thanksgiving. There are multiple varieties available for U-pick and bulk purchase, including Macintosh, Gala and Spartan, but be sure to check online to find out which types are ripe and ready to be picked.

There are plenty of hand washing stations on the property, but keep this new rule in mind: If you touch it, you pick it—so choose your apples carefully before making contact. When you’re not picking, meander past the petting zoo, grab coffee or tea from its Wilshire’s Apple Shed, or stop in for a to-go meal at the onsite Country Kitchen and settle in at a picnic table. Fresh pressed cider is available, too, and a necessary way to end your time spent in the orchard. The farm is open daily; keep an eye on picking hours and updated guidelines here.

2. Willowbrook Apple Farm

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Do more than just pick your own apples at Willowbrook Apple Farm, where the fun continues beyond the field. After picking up your sanitized apple picking tools, peruse the bounty on the century-old Stayman Winesap apple trees and take home your favorites. Afterward, head to the press station to sip fresh-pressed cider, indulge in a tasty caramel apple, or say hi to some of the farms animals during a petting zoo meet and greet.

The farm opens on Labor Day, with apples ready depending on the start of the season (this year they’re predicting early October). Willowbrook’s U-pick apples are typically available Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 4pm through November, but keep your eye on updates regarding rules and hours here.


3. Stone Soup Farm & Heritage Orchard

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The first weekend of October is when the grounds of Stone Soup Farm & Heritage Orchard open up for apple picking: Their acres of heirloom Stayman Winesap trees ripen throughout October and, during a good season, bear fruit into November. The apple orchard itself is 130 years young, but you’ll also find storied plots to pick your own pumpkins, herbs and flowers. Before filling up your bags up, you’ll most likely get a brief lesson from a farmhand on the history of the farm, how to properly pick the apples, and helpful tips on tasting.

This year they’ve placed plenty of sanitizing stations throughout the farm and will be monitoring the number of visitors each day to maintain distance between guests, and they’ve also adopted a “you touch it, you pick it” policy when it comes to their apples. General admission costs $5 (but it’s free for children 4 and under), and you pay for what you pick by the pound. You can find their full list of guidelines here.

4. Riley’s Apple Farm

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Spend an afternoon at Riley’s Apple Farm—not to be confused with Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho or Riley’s Farm—for a blast from the past. Pick from different varieties of apples for around $3 per pound, starting Labor Day weekend and all the way through October or November (depending on the season).

This year Riley’s is joining forces with a nearby farm: Believe it or not, it’s a family affair, and “Ma and Pa Riley” are ceding much of their orchard to their son’s farm, Stone Soup. On the weekends you can still partake in a number of classic Riley’s activities, including archery, cider pressing and grinding coffee beans manually, plus peek into the farm’s beloved log cabins. Be sure to stop into the Trading Post for home goods and to-go items like jams and jellies, and check out their site to see which apple varieties are ready for picking. 


5. Brian Ranch Airport U-Pick Orchard

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After going for a spin in the air, spend some time picking your own apples in the orchard at Brian Ranch Airport. There are a handful of apple varieties available at different points in the season—with some available as late July—and you can find out what’s currently on offer by calling 661-261-3216 ahead of your visit.

During apple picking season, hours are Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 2pm; as capacity is limited, Brian Ranch’s ownership recommends making an appointment, expecially for any parties over five people. Be sure to enjoy your pickings in their picnic area afterward.

Looking for more ways to celebrate fall?

Oak Glen
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Don Graham

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