With its rich soil, warm summers, cool autumns and expansive orchards, Washington-grown apples are some of the most delicious you’ll ever taste. Worldwide, there are more than 7,500 varieties of apples, which can be eaten alone or used for baking pies and pastries. Whether you’re craving Washington favorite Red Delicious, want a versatile Granny Smith for baking or can’t wait to taste a juicy Honeycrisp, there’s an apple to delight every apple picker in Washington State. From the Farm at Swan’s Trail to Wilson Banner Ranch and from Gordon Skagit Farms to Rosabella’s Garden Bakery, apple picking orchards abound.
The Farm at Swan’s Trail
7301 Rivershore Road
Snohomish, Wa 98290
Nestled against the scenic Snohomish River, The Farm at Swan’s Trail aims to provide visitors with a taste of authentic farm life and features an acre of Jonagold and Honeycrisp apples. Take a free wagon ride into the apple-laden trees and visit the pick-your-own orchard to choose exactly which apples you’d like. The farm features Honeycrisp apples, which ripen in early September, and Jonagold apples, which ripen later in September. Visitors will enjoy the farm’s 45-acre pumpkin patch, nine-hole golf putting course, duck races, corn maze and petting zoo, which has rabbits, chickens, goats and sheep.
Wilson Banner Ranch
16397 Highway 12
Clarkston, WA 99403
For more than 100 years, Wilson Banner Ranch has offered fresh produce, including apples, blackberries, tomatoes, pumpkins, peaches and potatoes. This family heritage farm had some of the very first fruit trees in Washington State and generations later, it continues to provide farm fresh fruit, vegetables and even honey. Wilson Banner Ranch is a heritage farm that uses responsible land stewardship. The Ranch uses environmentally friendly farming methods, including crop rotation, to maximize its crop yields and crop cover to decrease noxious weed growth and to minimize the use of chemicals. In addition to fresh produce and honey from the farm’s hives, the ranch also has a petting zoo for younger visitors and a cider mill to enjoy crisp, sweet cider.
Gordon Skagit Farms
15598 McLean Road
Mt. Vernon, WA 98273
Come for the apples, cider, pumpkins and corn and stay for the excitement and entertainment. Gordon Skagit Farms’ bright red Jonagolds are equal parts tart and sweet, making them the perfect choice for baking or eating directly off of the tree. Gordon Skagit Farms has been providing delicious Jonagold apples and a variety of other fresh produce, including ornamental corn and gourds, since 1932, but it doesn’t just offer produce. Children and the young at heart can also navigate the corn maze and haunted barn. The farm offers 63 varieties of squashes and gourds for cooking, carving and decoration and ornamental corn in vibrant colors.
Rosabella’s Garden Bakery
8933 Farm to Market Road
Bow, WA 98232
While Rosabella’s big red barn looks like it’s an enduring part of the historical farming landscape, the farm and bakery are actually newcomers to the Washington farming scene. Established in 2006, orchardists Rose and Alan Merritt created Rosabella’s Garden Bakery to provide farm fresh apples and apple products, including bottled hard cider and apple butter. Rosabella’s is set on a 50-acre orchard with berries, pears and apples and its country bakery features signature five-pound apple pie and apple cider doughnuts. Guests can purchase take-and-bake pies, half pies, slices of pies or whole baked pies, and guests staying for lunch can enjoy a sandwich, salad or bowl of soup while they investigate the well-stocked gift shop filled with antiques, locally produced honey, sauerkraut, jam and ceramics.
Jones Creek Farms
32260 Burrese Road
Sedro Woolley, WA 98284
Located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in the upper Skagit Valley, Jones Creek Farms offers you-pick apples, pumpkins, winter squash, plums, pears and Asian pears. The Skagit watershed area has a temperate climate and the farm sits on 34 rich, expansive acres, split by Jones Creek, which feeds into nearby Skagit River, which flows into Puget Sound. The farm’s annual Harvest Festival features hay rides, fresh cider and farm tours. Bring a sack lunch with you because after you’ve picked your fill of farm fresh produce, enjoy your lunch at one of the farm’s picnic tables overlooking the scenic acreage flanked by mountains and water.
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Tracy Campion is a freelance writer covering all things Seattle. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.