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Did you know it's apple picking season? The family visited Volcan Valley Apple Farm in Julian, California last weekend. On the website and signs, the official start date was Friday Sept 13th but we found out they had opened two weeks earlier due to ripening Gravenstein Apples!
You can reach Volcan Valley Apple Farm by taking the perfectly named road of Julian Orchids Dr. We lucked out with a parking spot two cars away from the first entrance! If you drive further down the street, there is a second gate, followed by a huge side parking lot with the third entrance. We recommend going early for the best selection of parking and apples! They are open Friday through Monday from 9am to 4:30pm during the picking season.
Entrance to the farm is $2 a person. You can buy an apple bag for $12 each. Talk to the employees at the gate who will let you know which apples are ripe and ready! Now go fill 'er up! We also recommend planning meetups ahead of time due to spotty cell phone reception, at least for T-mobile. The fields are large and it took a while to find each other when separated!
Our entrance was also next to the picnic area, which is an easy meetup spot. Cold, fresh cider made from Gravenstein apples is available for $4. Shake it up to loosen the bits that settled, then drain that deliciously sweet flavor onto your tongue! You can also purchase the juice from a few local stores. Since there are no preservatives added, make sure to finish up within a few days, if it isn't already all gone by then!
There are rows upon rows of trees, each with one type that is displayed on signs at the row end. Row 5 pictured here has Golden Delicious apples and there's a Gala apple tree in the very front. The 7 available varieties are Gravenstein, Jonathan, Empire, Gala, Fuji, Golden Delicious, and Pippin. The most ripe apples during our visit were the Jonathan and Gala apples.
In the middle of the orchid is a crosswalk path that gives you the option to traverse another row or continue onward. Dennis caught me walking along, exploring my options.
On the Gravenstein Apple row, which had begun ripening two weeks prior, some apples I found practically fell off with a slight tug. I can't remember which row I was on here but it looks like a Jonathan apple! I forgot my camera that day so here's my one cell phone pic.
Double Rainbow? How about Double Apple! The niece and nephew were ecstatic to find joint apples here and there! We told them to look for the reddest apples, other than the golden delicious of course. I'll say the kids were less diligent and we got some greener picks.
You can sample but be mindful not to waste by picking apples you aren't taking home in your baggie. Mother-in-law had a utility knife which she used to peel the apple skin off (for the kids). The farmers here do not use pesticides once the crop comes in so rest assured that you won't have additives on your apples. Just wipe off the everyday dust that comes from growing outdoors!
During picture time, one of the kids was holding an apple on top of his head and I thought I should do the same. To help out was my dutiful hat. Ta-da!
But it didn't stop there... Dennis's sister managed to balance three apples onto same hat and well... Dennis is rocking them apples now!
It was a hot day so dress accordingly. We filled up two bags full of apples and each were approximately 6-7 lbs! There's at least two more weekend of apple picking left according to Volcan Valley Apple Farm's facebook so grab some while you can! While in the Julian area, you can also visit the famous Julian Pie Company for yummy apple pies or Julian Hard Cider for the tasty adult version. Have an apple-licious time in Julian!
Volcan Valley Apple Farm
1284 Julian Orchards Dr
Julian CA 92036